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Shadab stars as Pakistan get off the mark

Led by Shadab Khan's 3 for 22 and a late collapse triggered by the pacers, Pakistan thumped Netherlands by 6 wickets in Perth to finally get off the mark in T20 World Cup 2022. The legspinner's early strikes pushed the Dutch into a shell, eventually restricting them to just 91/9 with Bas de Leede retiring hurt after being hit on the face. Mohammad Rizwan led the facile chase with his 39-ball 49 as Pakistan overhauled the target on the penultimate ball of the 14th over.

Shadab strikes keep Netherlands in check

Netherlands' experiment with Myburgh didn't quite get the results they wanted, as the opener, cramped for room while trying to pull one from Shaheen Afridi, offered an easy top edge. They huffed and puffed their way to just 19/1 off their powerplay, also losing Bas de Leede along the way who had to retire hurt after copping a blow to his helmet off Haris Rauf and a cut on the face. If that wasn't bad enough, Shadab struck twice in the space of seven balls to leave them reeling at 26/3. Tom Cooper, who had replaced de Leede in the middle, pulled a short one straight to deep midwicket while Max O'Dowd burnt a review on his way back after being adjudged LBW.

Pacers star in late collapse

Colin Ackermann (27 off 27) and Scott Edwards were the only two batters to get into double-digits, and the pair did it through a modest 35-run stand that came at just under run-a-ball in the middle overs. But once Shadab broke that one meaningful partnership, the Pakistan pacers gave Netherlands no shot at recovery. The Dutch lost a wicket in each of the remaining overs, starting from the 15th, except in 18th, to crawl to a lowly 91/9. Shadab, the leggie, kicked it off, pinging Ackermann straight in line on the pads when the batter missed his reverse sweep. Edwards fell trying to scoop one fine, with a fine-leg fielder stationed, and Rauf hit the top of Roelof van der Merwe's stumps at 147 kmph. Mohammad Wasim Jr joined the party in the penultimate over, cleaning up Tim Pringle and Fred Klaassen off successive balls, while Paul van Meekeren was run out trying to steal a second last ball of the innings.

Rizwan leads the way in easy chase

Netherlands had hit just five boundaries in their full 20 overs, Pakistan had as many by the time they reached 30 when Rizwan smacked one straight down the ground, past mid-on. Babar Azam's risky attempt for a single and the resultant run-out notwithstanding, Pakistan were in a hurry to close this chase out early and Rizwan led the way with his 49. He got Pakistan going with a 11-run opening over, including dispatching a low full-toss from Klaassen to the fence. The scoops and the drives were all on display as he kept his side way ahead of the asking rate. They did have a couple of more hiccups along the way - Fakhar Zaman perished chasing and edging a wide one from Glover to the 'keeper, and Rizwan himself inside-edged one behind on 49. But despite it all, the result was hardly in question. Fittingly, Shadab got them over the line with more than six overs to spare.

Where do they go from here?

Given their precarious position in the group, Pakistan have no time to celebrate as they take on South Africa next, in Sydney. For now, they might just want to stay back and cheer for India a tad, since the neighbours' victory over South Africa in Sunday's final match will boost their chances.

All but knocked out, Netherlands head to Adelaide now where they will take on the two African opponents in their group - Zimbabwe (November 2) and South Africa (November 6).

Brief scores: Netherlands 91/9 in 20 overs (Colin Ackermann 27; Shadab Khan 3-22, Mohammad Wasim Jr 2-15) lost to Pakistan 95/4 in 13.5 overs (Mohammad Rizwan 49; Brandon Glover 2-22) by 6 wickets

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