Shoaib guides Pakistan home after shaky start


Umar Akmal and Shoaib Malik rescued Pakistan from a stuttering start as they avoided an upset in the Asia Cup to beat United Arab Emirates by seven wickets.

After a lacklustre display in their five-wicket defeat to India, Pakistan needed a positive response in Mirpur but failed to produce with the ball as UAE recorded their highest total of the tournament - 129-6.

The early wickets of Sharjeel Khan (4), Khurram Manzoor (0) and Mohammed Hafeez (11) applied pressure on their chase to reach their target, as they slipped to 17-3.

However, there was no repeat of their shocking total of 83 all out against India as Umar (50 not out) and Shoaib (63no) shared an unbeaten 114-run stand to get them home with eight balls to spare.

UAE skipper Amjad Javed (3-36) caused the early panic with all three wickets but the minnows could not make further inroads, allowing Umar and Shoaib to play with freedom as the ball went crashing to the boundary - both men hitting three sixes on their way to match-winning half centuries.

Their heroics came after a less-than-impressive display with the ball, Pakistan failing to maintain the pressure built by Mohammad Amir's opening spell (2-6) that included 21 dot balls as UAE added 89 off their last 10 overs.

Shaiman Anwar struck a fluid 46 from 42 balls to anchor their innings, while late runs from Muhammad Usman (21) and Javed (27no) lifted UAE into three figures.

It was not enough, though, as Pakistan cruised to victory in their 100th T20 match, leaving UAE with three defeats from three games in the competition.