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Shoaib Malik lead Pakistan to 5th consecutive victory

Photo: ESPNCricinfo Photo: ESPNCricinfo

Pakistan secured a comfortable victory by a margin of 72 runs to make it five out of five for them as Scotland had to bid farewell empty-handed in Super 12. 

In response to the target of 190, Scotland needed a swift start at minimum cost. However, during the powerplay, the Scottish batters found it really difficult to penetrate the gaps as they managed to score only 24 runs, at the expense of their skipper Kyle Coetzer (9 off 16). 

Even after the powerplay, scoring runs seemed to be very difficult for Scotland as Pakistan kept pegging away with wickets in regular intervals. Specially Shadab Khan’s spell of 2/14 ensured that Scotland could not get a move on during the middle overs. 

The only positive for the Scottish was the decent knock of Richie Berrington (54* off 37) that helped Scotland reduce the margin of defeat. 

Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah, and Haris Rauf all chipped in with one wicket each. 

Earlier tonight, winning the toss, Pakistan decided to put runs on the board. Both the openers - Babaz Azam and Mohammad Rizwan - gave them a sedate start. The pair managed to score 35 runs during the powerplay. 

After the powerplay, Pakistani batters tried to get a move on. In that process, Mohammad Rizwan (15 off 19) and Fakhar Zaman (8 off 13) lost their wickets before the tenth over. Halfway through, they were in a not-so-comfortable position at 60/2. 

But the experience of Mohammad Hafeez along with Babaz Azam helped Pakistan to get the innings back on track. Removing Hafeez (31 off 19), Safyaan Sharif broke that partnership in the last delivery of the fifteenth over. By that time, this partnership had added 53 runs in just 32 balls. 

That breakthrough, however, did not have much impact on the scoring rate as Babar and Shoaib Malik added another 30 runs from just 15 deliveries before the former got caught in the deep for a very well played 66 off 47 balls. 

Afterwards, Shoaib Malik amplified the carnage in the remaining 15 deliveries as the period yielded 47 runs in total - 17 in the penultimate one and 26 in the final one.

Malik remained unbeaten scoring 54 runs off just 18 deliveries with one four and six sixes. He also equalled the record of the fastest fifty in this World Cup, reaching the milestone in 18 deliveries, just like KL Rahul against the same opposition a few nights ago. 

Pakistan accelerated at a rate of naughts in the latter part of the innings, scoring a staggering 129 runs in the last ten overs including 77 runs in the last five ones. 

Shoaib Malik claimed the Player of the Match award for the scintillating finishing touch he provided in the first innings. 

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