PERTH: Pakistan’ bowlers, led by spinner Shadab Khan, helped them hammer the Netherlands by six wickets in Perth on Sunday for a first win at the Twenty20 World Cup to keep their faint hopes of reaching the semi-finals alive.
Pakistan restricted the Dutch to 91-9, and then cruised to 95-4 with 37 balls to spare as Mohammad Rizwan made 49.
But it was the bowlers 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.
Pakistan lost skipper Babar Azam, for four, in the second over of their chase when he was run out by a direct throw from Roelof van der Merwe.
Rizwan attacked from the start, hitting five fours and putting on 37 with the returning Fakhar Zaman.
Fast bowler Brandon Glover had Zaman caught behind for 20 as a crowd of over 10,000, 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.
But Rizwan and Shan Masood calmed the nerves with stand of 30 and despite both falling near the end Pakistan sailed past their target as bowling hero Shadab hit the winning four.
Netherlands captain Scott Edwards won the toss and chose to bat first but Pakistan’s new-ball bowlers kept a disciplined line and only three runs came from the first two overs.
Returning 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.
A nasty bouncer from Rauf got through Bas de Leede’s helmet grill, forcing the batsman off the ground with a bruised cheek bone. He sat out the rest of the match in the dugout sporting a nasty-looking black eye.
Shadab’s leg spin had Tom Cooper caught for one after the power play and then trapped Max O’ Dowd lbw for eight in his next over.
After crawling to 34-3 after 10 overs, and with De Leede retired hurt, Netherlands captain Edwards and Colin Ackermann (27) attempted to rebuild with a 35-run stand but once they were separated the wickets kept tumbling.
Shadab trapped Ackermann lbw with a quicker and flatter delivery and Edwards fell soon after, for 15, to Naseem Shah.
Van Meekeren was last to fall, run out off the final ball for seven.
Pakistan 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.