Guptill shines with 80 as New Zealand book semis spot
MOHALI – New Zealand became the first team to book a spot in the World Twenty20 semi-finals after opener Martin Guptill smashed his 10th fifty in the game’s shortest format to set up a 22-run win against Pakistan in their Super 10 stage match on Tuesday.
The right-handed Guptill hit 10 fours and three sixes in his 48-ball 80, sharing an opening stand of 62 with captain Kane Williamson, after an unchanged New Zealand won the toss on a green-tinged surface at Mohali to post 180-5.
Sharjeel Khan (47) gave his team a brisk start in their chase with New Zealand either bowling too short or too full on his pads as Pakistan raced to 61-0 in five overs.
However, the rest of Pakistan’s batsmen found it extremely difficult to find the boundaries after paceman Adam Milne dismissed the left-handed opener, who hit nine fours and a six in his 25-ball knock.
Kiwi left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner, who was taken for 15 runs in the first over of the innings, came back superbly to finish with figures of 2-29 in his four overs and, along with leg-spinner Ish Sodhi, applied the brakes on Pakistan’s scoring.
Milne also kept the batsmen on a tight leash with figures of 2-26 as Pakistan could only manage 158-5 in their 20 overs.
It was New Zealand’s third straight win in Group Two after victories over hosts India and trans-tasman rivals Australia.
Earlier, Guptill also combined with Corey Anderson (21) for a third-wicket stand of 52 that set the platform for Ross Taylor (36 not out) to finish with a flourish.
Mohammad Amir gave away 16 runs in the final over with Taylor hitting him for six and four to ensure that Pakistan would have to score over nine runs an over in their chase.
Mohammad Sami and captain Shahid Afridi picked up two wickets apiece for Pakistan, who made two changes to the team that lost to arch-rivals India on Saturday.
Mohammad Hafeez failed to recover from a knee injury while paceman Wahab Riaz was hit in the head by a ball during practice and they were replaced by batsman Khalid Latif and spin-bowling all-rounder Imad Wasim. –Reuters