It was a game that came down to small numbers with large implications. Pakistan put up their best performance of the WT20 so far by beating the Netherlands by 82 runs to qualify for the SuperEights at Lord's on Tuesday.
While the Dutch needed 151 from their 20 overs to qualify, Shahid Afridi produced a spell that the minnows found too hot to handle, collapsing to 93 all out.
Opting to bat, Pakistan, aided by a breezy 41 by Kamran Akmal and a late charge by skipper Younis Khan (36 off 20) and Misbah ul-Haq (31 off 20), reached 175/5 in 20 overs.
Getting off to a flier, Pakistan reached their fifty in just 38 balls with Akmal doing the bulk of the scoring. But once the openers departed, the Dutch controlled the proceedings, restricting the middle-order to ones and twos and a few boundaries. Then came the late charge from Younis and Misbah, who put on a quickfire 50-run partnership off just 27 balls to help Pakistan reach a challenging total.
Chasing 174, Netherlands got off to a streaky start, playing some of the most agricultural strokes. Darron Reekers led the initial charge, but once the big man departed for 16, the Dutch struggled. The chase fell apart when the Pakistan spinners came into their own. Afridi (4/11) and Saeed Ajmal (3/20) did the bulk of the damage, while Mohammad Aamer, Umar Gul and Shoaib Malik chipped in with a wicket each.
The Dutch eventually managed just 93, 58 runs short of the qualification mark.
"It was all about partnerships today. I thought 180 and 190 should be good," said the Pakistan captain after the win. “ We wanted to be positive and so we batted first. The spinners bowled realy well.”
Pakistan: K Akmal c Schiferli b Seelaar 41; S. Butt c Borren b ten Doeschate 18; S Malik c Seelaar b Borren 30; Y Khan c de Grooth b Seelaar 36; Misbah-ul-Haq not out 31; S Afridi b Nannes 13; F Alam not out 3;
Extras (lb1, w2) 3;
Total (5 wkts, 20 overs) 175;
FoW: 1-38, 2-81, 3-99, 4-152, 5-171;
Bowling: Nannes 4-0-26-1; Schiferli 4-0-36-0; ten Doeschate 4-0-42-1; Seelaar 4-0-36-2; Borren 4-0-34-1;
Netherlands: D Reekers c Tanvir b Aamir 13; A Kervezee st Akmal b Ajmal 21; B Zuiderent b Afridi 13;P Borren c Butt b Ajmal 2; R Doeschate st Akmal b Malik 14; T Grooth b Afridi 4; D Bunge st Akmal b Afridi 0; E Schiferli c Ajmal b Afridi 2; J Smits not out 11; D Nannes st Akmal b Ajmal 6; P Seelaar b Gul 1;
Extras (lb1, w5) 6; Total (17.3 overs) 93;
FoW: 1-13, 2-42, 3-47, 4-49, 5-61, 6-61, 7-71, 8-74, 9-90, 10-93;
Bowling: Tanvir 3-0-13-0; Aamir 2-0-16-1; Gul 2.3-0-14-1; Ajmal 4-0-20-3; Afridi 4-0-11-4; Malik 2-0-18-1