Pakistan remained unbeaten at the cricket T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates, as they beat Scotland by 72 runs on Sunday to set-up a semi-final clash against Australia.
New Zealand also eased to an eight-wicket win over Afghanistan, eliminating pre-tournament favorites India. Black Caps will now face England in the semi-final.
Afghanistan were bowled out at 125 runs. Najibullah Zadran played a lone hand 73 off 48 balls to help his team reach a modest total.
Kiwi openers Martin Gutptill and Daryl Mitchell gave a steady start, taking singles and doubles with occasional boundaries.
Mitchell was the first causality – caught behind for 17 on an elusive delivery by Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
Right-arm off-spinner, Rashid Khan sent back Guptill bowled for 28 to bag his 400th wicket in T20 matches.
However, after losing two wickets, skipper Kane Williamson (40) and Devon Conway (36) put on an unbeaten 68-run partnership of 68 to propel the team home in 18.1 overs.
Trent Boult grabbed three wickets, and was the man of the match.
In the second contest, after winning the toss and electing to bat first, Pakistani openers Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan found themselves unable to hit freely in the initial overs due to spin wicket.
Rizwan, who had been consistent in the previous four fixtures, lost his wicket for 15 followed by Fakhar Zaman, who could score eight runs only.
Azam and Mohammad Hafeez continued to charge, and after 10 overs the duo took on the inexperienced Scot bowlers, sending ball to all corners of the ground.
Azam hit a glorious 66 off 47, while Hafeez scored 31 off 19 balls.
However, a 54-run inning off only 18 balls by all-rounder Shoaib Malik was the highlight of the match as he thumped six sixes. Pakistan finished 189-4.
Chasing a daunting 190-run target, Scotland’s top order played at a snail pace and made only 46 runs in first 10 overs as Pakistan’s pace battery continued to break small partnerships with regular intervals.
Richie Berrengton, however, produced a fine knock decorated with fours and sixes against Hassan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf.
His 54 runs off 37 balls gave Scotland to reach a respectable total of 117-6. Malik was declared the man of the match.
While England will play New Zealand in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday; Pakistan will face Australia on Thursday in Dubai.