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Kiwis overcome spirited Pakistan to seal World T20 semis berth

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Mohali: New Zealand overcame a spirited Pakistan by 22 runs in their penultimate group game to storm into semifinals of the World Twenty20 in Mohali on Tuesday.

Opting to bat first, New Zealand relied on opener Martin Guptill (80 off 48 balls) and veteran batsman Ross Taylor (36 not out of 23 balls) to post a formidable target of 181 at Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium.

In reply, Pakistan got off to a blistering start as opener Sharjeel Khan went berserk with bat, smacking a brisk 47 off just 25 balls.

However, the Shahid Afridi-led side failed to sustain the momentum and could only make 158 for five in their stipulated 20 overs.

The dismissal of Sharjeel punctured Pakistan’s surge as they failed to score a boundary in their last five overs, leaving their hopes of qualifying for the semi-finals very bleak.

Shoaib Malik and Sarfraz Ahmed failed to take their side to victory target as they remained unbeaten on their respective scores of 15 and 11.

For New Zealand, spin all-rounder Mitchell Santner and fast bowler Adam Milne bagged two wickets apiece, while Ish Sodhi scalping the crucial wicket of Afridi, who scored a quick-fire 19 off 9 balls. (ANI)

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