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Resurgent Pakistan make short work of UAE

Napier - March 4,  2015: Pakistan expectedly cruised to an emphatic129-run win against minnows United Arab Emirates at Mclean Park on Wednesday, registering their second win on the bounce back.

It was a clinical performance by both batsmen and bowlers and gave Pakistan four points in as many games and the much needed confidence for their crunch game against South Africa in Auckland on Saturday.

Opener Ahmed Shehzad fell seven short of his maiden World Cup hundred while Haris Sohail (70) and skipper Misbah-ul-Haq chipped in with 65 which helped Pakistan to post a big 339-6.

They then restricted the UAE to 210-8 in their 50 overs with Shaiman Anwar continuing his brilliant form with the bat by scoring 62.

"Of course I am relieved, no doubt," said head coach Waqar Younis. "We wanted to win by more than 150 runs but not having Mohammad Irfan (slightly injured with a hip muscle) affected us and then UAE batted well also."

"That was a much needed win for us. We won by a margin so we can relax now. We have a good net run rate now also," said skipper Misbah-ul-Haq.

UAE captain Mohammad Tauqir admitted chasing such a huge score was always going to be beyond them.

"340 was a big total for us, but we batted 50 overs and we are happy with this effort. Anwar is very confident and in great form," said Tauqir.

A required rate of six-plus an over was always beyond UAE's reach but after losing their first three wickets with just 25 on the board - two to paceman Sohail Khan - Anwar and Khurram Khan took the fight to the Pakistan bowlers adding 83 for the fourth wicket.

Anwar hit four boundaries and two sixes during his 88-ball knock and with 270 runs in four matches became the top run-getter in the tournament.

Khan hit three fours and a six off 54 deliveries.

Pakistan's bowling was hampered by the absence of spearhead Mohammad Irfan who hurt his hip during a fall in the field and could bowl only three overs.

The team said Irfan's injury was not serious and he was held back as precaution.

Wahab Riaz, Khan and Shahid Afridi took two wickets apiece. 

Shehzad and Sohail restored Pakistan during their second wicket stand of 160 after they lost out of form Nasir Jamshed for four in the fourth over.

Guruge could have had Shehzad in his fourth over but Khurram dropped a sharp chance when the batsman was on eight and three runs later Shehzad got another life off Mohammad Naveed.

Shehzad hit eight boundaries and a six off 105 balls but ran himself out while taking a sharp double. Sohail clubbed five boundaries and a six.

Maqsood helped Misbah add another rapid 75 for the fourth wicket, hitting four boundaries and two towering sixes during his 31-ball 45.

Misbah reached his 41st ODI half-century off just 39 balls. He hit four boundaries and two sixes before holing out off Guruge.

Shahid Afridi hit two sixes and a four in his seven-ball 21 not out and when on two became the fourth Pakistani, and 27th batsman, in the world to cross 8,000 runs.

This was Afridi's 395th match. Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Yousuf and Saeed Anwar are the other Pakistan players to make 8,000 ODI runs.

Guruge was the pick of UAE bowlers with a career best 4-56.