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BlackCaps book a berth in semis

Cricket

New Zealand became the first team to book a spot in the World Twenty20 semi-finals after opener Martin Guptill smashed his 10th fifty in the game’s shortest format to set up a 22-run win against Pakistan in their Super 10 stage match overnight.

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The right-handed Guptill hit 10 fours and three sixes in his 48-ball 80, sharing an opening stand of 62 with captain Kane Williamson, after an unchanged New Zealand won the toss on a green-tinged surface at Mohali to post 5-180.

“On the back of Martin Guptill’s superb knock, the batting unit played their roles truly nicely to get to us to a very good total,” New Zealand captain Kane Williamson said.

“It was nice to see, in the second innings, our bowlers kept their composure after a tough start and pulled it back nicely.”

Sharjeel Khan (47) gave his team a brisk start in their chase with New Zealand either bowling too short or too full on his pads as Pakistan raced to 0-61 in five overs.

However, the rest of Pakistan’s batsmen found it extremely difficult to find the boundaries after paceman Adam Milne dismissed the left-handed opener, who hit nine fours and a six in his 25-ball knock.

“It was a chaseable total, we played well in the first six overs. But after that, instead of building partnerships, we played too many dot balls,” Afridi said.

“Maybe I will play my last game of the career [against Australia] and we should focus on it.”

Kiwi left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner, who was taken for 15 runs in the first over of the innings, came back superbly to finish with figures of 2-29 in his four overs and, along with leg-spinner Ish Sodhi, applied the brakes on Pakistan’s scoring.

Milne also kept the batsmen on a tight leash with figures of 2-26 as Pakistan could only manage 5-158 in their 20 overs.

It was New Zealand’s third straight win in Group Two after victories over hosts India and trans-Tasman rivals Australia.

-Reuters

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