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14-Mar-2011 17:25:00 GMT
Pakistan v Zimbabwe, Group A, World Cup 2011, Pallekele

Pakistan Thump Zimbabwe by 7 Wickets, Reach in QF

Pallekele: Asad Shafiq scored 78 not out (97 balls), while Umar Gul took 3/36 in Pakistan's comfortable 7-wicket win over Zimbabwe. Pakistan joined New Zealand on 8 points after the win.

Asad Shafiq scored a brilliant half century to lead the Pakistan run chase in the rain-curtailed match.

Earlier, fast bowler Umar Gul took three wickets and helped Pakistan restrict Zimbabwe to 151-7 in a rain-marred match.

Pakistan's target was revised to 162 off 38 overs under the Dutckworth/Lewis method as rain halted Zimbabwe's innings - for the second time - after 39.4 overs.

The match was first reduced to 43-overs-a-side when rain interrupted play in the 28th over for almost two hours.

Craig Ervine top-scored with 52 from 82 balls but Zimbabwe's innings never gained momentum after it slumped to 4-43 in the 13th over.

Pakistan's seamers made the most of overcast conditions after Zimbabwe captain Elton Chigumbura took a surprise decision to bat first when he won the toss on his 25th birthday.

Wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal, heavily criticized for a poor match against New Zealand, made sure he did not miss Brendan Taylor's edge in the very first over off Abdul Razzaq, then Gul trapped Regis Chakabva to make it 5-2.

Akmal came under fire for his two costly dropped catches of century-maker Ross Taylor in a 110-run loss to New Zealand last Tuesday.

Vusi Sibanda was one of the two changes made by Zimbabwe in order to beef up its brittle batting lineup. But the right-handed Sibanda - playing in his first game of the tournament - scored only five before Gul found a thick edge which flew to Misbah-ul-Haq in the first slip.

Zimbabwe had a reprieve at 41-3 in the 12th over when Misbah could not hold onto Craig Ervine's edge in the slips off Razzaq when the batsman had scored 13.

But it made little difference as left-arm paceman Wahab Riaz struck from the other end when Tatenda Taibu tried to break the shackles and played a lose drive to Shahid Afridi at wide mid-off.

Zimbabwe struggled to 96-5 in the 28th over when rain stopped play for the first time.

Offspinner Mohammad Hafeez bowled top-scorer Ervine in the second over after play resumed after one-hour and 40 minutes.

Chigumbura (32) and Prosper Utseya (18) took the batting powerplay but faced only four deliveries before rain once again disrupted the play.

They combined for the best partnership of the innings by adding 48 runs off 62 balls before Utseya top-edged a ball from Gul to Akmal.

Pakistan rested fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar and Umar Akmal was still recovering from an injured index finger.

Riaz replaced Akhtar while Asad Shafiq earned his World Cup debut in place of Umar Akmal.

Zimbabwe, which has just two points after four matches, brought in Sibanda and fast bowler Shingirai Masakadza in place of pace bowlers Chris Mpofu and Tinashe Panyangara.

Brief scores
151 for 7 (39.4/39.4 ov) (Ervine 52, Chigumbura 32*, Gul 3-36)
Pakistan 164 for 3 (Shafiq 78*, Hafeez 49, Price 2-21)
Results Pakistan won by 7-wickets by D/L method
MOM Umar Gul (Pakistan)
Points Pakistan 2, Zimbabwe 0

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