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1st Semi-Final: New Zealand v Pakistan
Sa'adi Thawfeeq - 16 June 1999

New Zealand make 241

MANCHESTER, Wednesday - New Zealand will be banking on their belief that Pakistan will crack as they had done in the last two matches in which they chased, against India and Bangladesh, after setting the World Cup favourites with their highest winning total to chase - 243 in the first semi-final played at Old Trafford here today.

On the two previous occasions Pakistan chased and lost, their targets were 228 against India and 224 against Pakistan.

This semi-final was a battle between one team with a lot of talent and another with a lot of belief who have shown they can handle pressure.

Pakistan would preferred to have batted first had they won the toss because they had the bowlers to exploit the pitch which was the same used for the game between Pakistan and India eight days ago. But the toss favoured New Zealand and they had no hesitation in batting first for two reasons. To exploit on Pakistan's weakness at chasing totals and prevent themselves from facing upto Saqlain Mushtaq and Shahid Afridi on a wearing pitch.

New Zealand finished on 241 for 5 off 50 overs.

By the 16th over, Pakistan had reduced New Zealand to 58 for 3 with some excellent bowling by Shoaib Akhtar, Wasim Akram and Abdul Razzaq. Nathan Astle continued his dismal World Cup form when he was out for three playing onto an Akhtar express which came at him at 90 mph clocked on the speedmeter.

Craig McMillan, another New Zealand failure in the tournament was also out for three edging a drive off Akram to Moin Khan and when Matt Horne was bowled for 35 by a slow yorker from Razzaq, New Zealand had their backs to the wall.

However, skipper Stephen Fleming joined by New Zealand's prolific run-getter in the tournament, Roger Twose put together a fourth wicket partnership of 94 off 112 balls before Akhtar returned to break their liaison.

Fleming was bowled by an inswinging yorker delivered at 92 mph for 41 scored off 57 balls with five fours. Twose, four away from his fourth fifty fell to a brilliant one-handed catch at point by Ijaz Ahmed off Razzaq. The left-hander who averages 90, hit three fours facing 48 balls.

Chris Harris (16) and Adam Parore (0) were both bowled by Akhtar and Akram, but Chris Carins ensured that New Zealand got to a reasonable total which would give their bowlers to bowl at.

Akram, Akhtar and Razzaq, the first three in the Pakistan bowling line-up picked up the seven New Zealand wickets to fall in the innings.

New Zealand have never entered the final of a World Cup, having made it to the semi-finals on four occasions.

Anwar and Wasti steer Pakistan into the final

MANCHESTER, Thursday - New Zealand's hopes of reaching their first World Cup final in four attempts was buried by Pakistan openers Saeed Anwar and Wajahatullah Wasti who shared a new tournament record partnership of 194 to steer their side into Sunday's final in the first semi-final played at Old Trafford here yesterday.

Left-hander Anwar with his second century of the tournament and the 24-year-old Wasti, playing in only his seventh one-day international, reduced the New Zealand bowlers to that of ordinary pie throwers on a perfect batting strip.

Pakistan knocked off the target of 242 runs in the 48th over losing only Wasti's wicket to post a convincing nine-wicket win and qualify for their second World Cup final.

The first time they entered the final, in 1992 under Imran Khan they beat England by 22 runs to win the World Cup. Now Imran's protege Wasim Akram has the opportunity to emulate his former captain.

If it was anything, it was a merciless onslaught by the Pakistan batsmen under a hot Manchester sun that took whatever sting there was in the Kiwis bowling.

Both Anwar and Wasti scored at will and against a fast outfield there was not much the Kiwis could do to stop the flow of runs.

By the halfway stage, both batsmen had completed their respective half-centuries, Wasti was first to his maiden one-day fifty which came off 84 balls with six fours. Anwar's came an over later using 12 balls less and hitting four fours.

Neither batsmen gave the Kiwis any chance of dismissing them. By the 38th over the pair had eclipsed the first wicket World Cup record of 186 between South Africa's Gary Kirsten and Andrew Hudson against Holland at Rawalpindi in 1996.

Kirsten with Herschelle Gibbs had come within 11 runs of breaking this record against New Zealand in the Super Sixes match played at Edgbaston a week ago.

Wasti was approaching his maiden one-day hundred when he played a loose stroke to a ball from Chris Cairns and presented Stephen Fleming with an easy catch at mid-off. His 84 out of a partnership of 194, came off 122 balls and comprised one six and 10 fours.

Anwar who was on 96 at the time, went onto complete his 17th one-day century and was still there at the finish to make the winning hit which became a debatable one when he lofted Nathan Astle to long-off and as the fielder chased it to the boundary the ground was engulfed by spectators. The batsmen ran one and then took off to the pavilion. Technically the scores were tied at 241. A four was awarded first by the scorers and then amended to two runs which put Pakistan ahead of New Zealand and winners. When Pakistan required eight runs to win, a crowd invasion held up play for 13 minutes.

Pakistan supporters totally outnumbered the Kiwis and whatever vocal support their beleaguered opponents offered was lost in the constant crescendo of musical instruments.

Ijaz Ahmed who replaced Wasti, kept up the tempo stroking his way to 28 off 21 balls of which 22 came in boundaries (1 six, 4 fours). Anwar finished on 113 not out batting 148 balls and hitting nine fours. But the Man of the Match award, went to fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar for his three wickets for 55 runs.

Akhtar played a vital role in keeping New Zealand's total to 241 for 7 getting the initial breakthrough by dismissing Nathan Astle and then coming back to break the 94-run fourth wicket partnership between Fleming and Roger Twose when it looked threatening.

Pakistan's victory put to an end the competition myth that they were bad chasers. Twice before they had chased and lost, first to Bangladesh in a group match and to India in the Super Sixes. Yesterday chasing their biggest total in the competition, they won by a mile.

Pakistan now go to Lord's on Sunday knowing that they are only one game away from becoming the second team to win the World Cup twice. West Indies did it in 1975 and 1979.

Source: The Daily News