LONDON, June 10 – Pakistan avoided following Australia out of the World Twenty20 on Tuesday while South Africa hammered home their position as favourites by successfully defending the format's lowest ever total.
Pakistan, the runners-up at the 2007 championship, had been defeated by England in their opening match and needed to beat the Netherlands.
Younus Khan’s men survived in style with an 82-run win at Lord’s to complete the second round Super Eights line-up.
South Africa, meanwhile, pulled off a one-run win off the last ball against fellow qualifiers New Zealand having made just 128-7.
Leg-spinner Shahid Afridi took four wickets for 11 – the fourth best return in all Twenty20 internationals – to star for Pakistan in their crucial Group B clash.
The Dutch, shock four-wicket winners over England in Friday’s tournament opener and with a better run-rate at the start, were chasing 176 but needed to make only 151 to deny Pakistan the minimum 25-run margin of victory required.
But Afridi, well supported by fellow spinner Saeed Ajmal (three for 20), sparked a collapse that saw the Dutch decline from 42 for one to 93 all out.
Pakistan wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal, who also made four stumpings, top-scored with 41 and was named man of the match.
"Afridi was outstanding," said Dutch skipper Jeroen Smits.
Pakistan captain Younus Khan was relieved that his team had survived.
"We were much better today and the partnerships were important. Our spinners bowled very well," said Younus.
South Africa were also in debt to their spinners with left-armer Roelof van der Merwe taking two key wickets as the Proteas beat New Zealand by one run off the last ball in their ‘dead’ Group D match.
The Black Caps were cruising at 82 for two, chasing just 129 to win, when van der Merwe, who finished with two for 14, bowled Ross Taylor.
He then had top scorer, and skipper, Brendon McCullum stumped for 57 and New Zealand were 93 for four off 17 overs.
Come the last over, from teenage seamer Wayne Parnell, New Zealand still needed 15 to win.
That became four off the last ball but Jacob Oram was run out by South Africa captain Graeme Smith who had earlier top-scored for his side with 33 off 35 balls in a modest total of 128 for seven.
"We were 20 runs short when we batted. We lost our way as well as some intensity and kept finding their fielders," said Smith.
"But it wasn’t an easy wicket and we knew that if we could bowl well, it would be a great challenge."
McCullum, standing in for injured captain Daniel Vettori, said his batsmen never came to terms with the tight South African bowling.
"We bowled and fielded well," said McCullum. "We were pretty pleased that we were chasing under 130 but we never got any momentum and weren’t able to accelerate."
On Wednesday, the first round of matches comes to a conclusion with defending champions India facing surprise qualifiers Ireland while Sri Lanka meet the West Indies.
India suffered a blow on Tuesday when explosive opener Virender Sehwag was ruled out of the rest of the tournament because of a shoulder injury.