Pakistan trounced the Netherlands by six wickets to keep their Twenty20 World Cup campaign alive, bouncing back to register their first win of the tournament after last-ball defeats against Zimbabwe and India.
Pakistan restricted the Dutch to 91-9 after being asked to bowl first, and then cruised to 95-4 on Sunday with 37 balls to spare as Mohammad Rizwan top-scored with 49.
Rizwan wasted no time in kick-starting Pakistan’s reply, peeling 11 runs off the first over.
Captain Babar Azam, who is yet to hit his straps with eight runs from three matches, was run out for four when Roelof van der Merwe at mid-on nailed a direct hit.
Fast-bowler Brandon Glover had Fakhar Zaman caught behind for 20 as a 10,000-plus crowd, dominated by Pakistan supporters, feared for the worst at a venue where Pakistan fell short by one run in their chase of a modest 130 against Zimbabwe on Thursday.
India-South Africa is a big game for Pakistan who are in the strange position of wanting India to win. An Indian victory lifts Pakistan's chances of qualifying to around 23% but a South Africa win sees that fall to 15%. #T20WorldCup
— Freddie Wilde (@fwildecricket) October 30, 2022
Rizwan and Shan Masood calmed the nerves with a stand of 30 and despite both falling near the end, Pakistan sailed past their target as bowling hero Shadab Khan hit the winning four.
“The last couple of games … we played great cricket but still we didn’t finish the game but today we finished the game,” said man-of-the-match Shadab.
“All the bowlers bowled great, because [the opening bowlers] put pressure on in the powerplay and [the batters] have to try and hit me and I will get the opportunity to take wickets.”
It was the bowlers who set up victory for a side that lost their opener to India and then were shocked by Zimbabwe in Group 2.
Shadab returned figures of 3-22 and pace bowler Mohammad Wasim took two wickets to set the tone for their team’s domination against a Dutch side who are out of the semi-final running after losing a third straight Super 12 match.
Returning Dutch opener Stephan Myburgh broke the shackles with a boundary off Shaheen Shah Afridi only to fall next ball, caught at fine leg attempting another big hit to be out for six. There was no respite from the Pakistan quick bowlers.
Wasim took two wickets in two balls only for Paul van Meekeren to survive the hat-trick delivery, and Haris Rauf made good use of the bounce on offer.
Pakistan now need to win their remaining matches against South Africa on Thursday and Bangladesh in a week’s time – and need other results to go their way – to have any chance of a semi-final place.