Pakistan lose thriller to New Zealand by one run
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados: New Zealand snatched a sensational one-run victory from Pakistan on the last ball of a World Twenty20 Super Eights match at the Kensington Oval here on Saturday.
Defending champions Pakistan are now on the brink of elimination from the tournament and victory for South Africa over England in Saturday''s other Group E match would mean Pakistan no longer had a chance of reaching the semi-finals.
Recalled New Zealand fast bowler Ian Butler took an impressive three wickets for 19 runs as opener Salman Butt, who finished on 67 not out, so nearly saw Pakistan to victory after a top-order collapse.
Chasing 134 to win, Pakistan finished on 132 for seven in reply to the 133 for seven New Zealand made after losing the toss.
The title-holders began the final over, bowled by Butler, needing 11 to win.
Left-hander Butt couldn''t make contact with the first ball but slashed the second down to third man for four.
He also missed the third delivery before crashing the fourth through point for another boundary.
Off the fifth ball, Pakistan ran a bye and that left Abdur Rehman, who''d earlier taken two wickets for just 19 runs in his first Twenty20 international for nearly three years, on strike with two needed off the final ball.
Rehman, also a left-hander, made good contact as he swung at a legside delivery from Butler but the ball flew straight to Martin Guptill to spark joyous celebrations amongst the New Zealand team.
The Black Caps, who lost their opening Super Eights match to South Africa as Pakistan went down to England, needed a victory every bit as much as the title-holders to revive their hopes of a semi-final spot.
Pakistan collapsed to 25 for three in the face of hostile fast bowling from Shane Bond and the recalled Kyle Mills.
Man-of-the-match Butler, selected along with Mills after fellow seamers Jacob Oram and Tim Southee were dropped, then struck twice to reduce Pakistan to 58 for five in his first match of the tournament.