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Pakistan too strong for Scots
12 Sep 2007
By: Sean Bennett


Pakistan made a winning start to their World Twenty20 campaign, but the win wasn't as convincing as expected. Minnows Scotland took 9 Pakistani wickets, restricting the test nation to 171. The Scots also started brightly with the bat before collapsing to the spin of Shahid Afridi.

With players such as Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, and Younis Khan, Pakistan would have been expected to put well over 200 on the Associate nation, whose captain Ryan Watson won the toss and elected to field. On the contrary, the Pakistani top order faltered. Imran Nazir had scored only 4 when he sliced an attempted big shot off John Blain to deep cover. His opening partner, Salman Butt, took 23 balls to score his 13 - remarkably slow for Twenty20. As the pressure built for him to up the scoring rate, he gave Blain a second wicket, paddling the ball to Majid Haq to lave Pakistan at 24-2.

Mohammad Hafeez reeled off 18 from 11 and Younis Khan anchored the innings with a fine 41 to put Pakistan back on track, but Hafeez chipped a return catach to Craig Wright and Yousuf never found a permament partner. The Scottish seamers Blain, Dewald Nel and Wright bowled fantastically, containing the Pakistani batsmen well. As a resultof being tied down, Shoaib Malik danced down the pitch to Majid Haq's arm ball and was stumped.

A brief bright spot for Pakistan was Shahid Afridi's 7 ball 22, including two sixes and a four off his first three balls. In just four deliveries against Haq, he took the off spinner apart and completely ruined his figures, but the innings was all too short. trying to being clever and paddle Wright around the corner, Afridi gave Haq the simplest of catches at short fine leg.

Younis fell soon after, caught at long on off Haq. At 116-6, Pakistan were in rather an embarrassing position against an associate nation. Some lusty lower order hitting, including sixes from Akmal and Arafat, pushed the score up to 171, but Wright struck once more and Nel twice to ensure that not one batsman got on too much of a roll.

The target set for Scotland of 172 was chasable, but tough. Scotland's best chance of success would be if the big hitting Ryan Watson at the top of the order got going, but unfortunately he only managed 2 before pushing Umar Gul to Hafeez in the off side.

Watson's opening partner was going great guns, though. Navdeep Poonia only scored 4 off 6 before getting out to Gul himself. At that point, Fraser Watts had scored 29 off 22. Watts upped the scoring rate as he went on, and if any of Scotland's other batsmen had got a score then they would have been in a dtrong position. However, the runs didn't come from those batsmen.

The Scottish batsmen obviously had a pre-conceived plan to attack the spinners. It was an ill advised one. In Shahid Afridi's first over, both Gavin Hamilton and Neil McCallum made wild heaves and were both caught. Watts' sparkling 43 was brought to a close in the next over, top edging a slog-sweep to Nazir at third man. The next over, Dougie Brown gifted Afridi a third wicket, hitting straight down long on's throat to leave Scotland at 60-6 and with no chance.

From that point onwards the game petered out. Haq and Wright both scored 14, but at under a run a ball, and Dewald Nel struck two fours in an unbeaten 13 to see Scotland to 120 before being bowled out. The last two wickets fell to Gul, pulling out two top notch yorkers to clean bowl Blain and Wright.

Pakistan 171-9 (20 overs)
Younis Khan 41, Misbah-ul-Haq 23
Craig Wright 3-29, John Blain 2-23

Scotland 120 (19.5 overs)
Fraser Watts 43, Craig Wright 14
Shahid Afridi 4-19, Umar Gul 4-25

Pakistan win by 51 runs
Cricketweb player of the match: Shahid Afridi

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