Pakistan fans finally got the chance to enjoy that feeling of their team scoring big runs in an ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 match, with the men in green putting their batting worries behind them for at least a game by going gung-ho against UAE in Napier.
Put into bat, Pakistan, courtesy half-centuries from Ahmed Shehzad, Haris Sohail and Misbah-ul-Haq and a quickfire innings from Sohaib Maqsood, got past that 300-run mark with ease, eventually finishing on 339 for six in 50 overs to set UAE a total they were never going to chase down.
After losing three quick wickets in the Powerplay overs, the writing was definitely on the wall and even if UAE's two best batsmen Khurram Khan (43, 54b, 3x4, 1x6) and Shaiman Anwar (62, 88b, 4x4, 2x6), who impressively went into the number one spot of top runscorers at this CWC, delayed the inevitable, they could not stop their team from falling to a 129-run defeat, after crawling to 210/8 in their 50 overs.
Pakistan's only worry from the match came via injuries to their fast bowlers Mohammad Irfan, who only bowled three overs, and Sohail Khan. It remains to be seen just how serious the injuries are, even if they are thought to be just niggles, and the last thing Misbah will want is another one his bowlers breaking down and being ruled out of the tournament.
Earlier, a big opening partnership between Ahmed Shehzad and Nasir Jamshed would have been the first "I want it" item on the list of the Pakistan skipper Misbah, but Jamshed's awful run with the bat continued as the left-hander fell to Manjula Guruge, mistiming another pull shot.
That early wicket would have given the feeling of "oh man not again" to most Pakistan supporters, but Shehzad, via plenty of luck, and Sohail (70, 93b, 5x4, 1x6) tempered down the worries considerably with a big 160-run partnership – their biggest of this World Cup by some distance -- and with it ticking off the second item on the "I want it" list of Misbah.
Shehzad (93, 105b, 8x4, 1x6) was far from his fluent best, and he was dropped by the UAE in the eighth and ninth over – the first one a really difficult catch at extra cover and the second one a considerably easy one at point -- but the right-hander made full use of those lives, stitching together a nice alliance with Sohail, who while not quite as free-flowing, was a touch more assured.
Against a more capable bowling attack, Pakistan might have found themselves in trouble again, but you can only thump the bowling in front of you, and the batsmen did just that.
UAE, to their credit, fought back in the Batting Powerplay, taken early in the 31st over by Pakistan, picking up the wickets of the two set batsmen – Sohail first and then Shehzad.
Those two quick wickets would have given the team from the Emirates a little bit of hope, but those hopes were extinguished emphatically by Maqsood and Misbah, who tonked the bowling at will. The duo put on 75 runs together in under 9 overs, with Sohaib (45, 31b, 4x4, 2x6) smashing a couple of huge sixes, and, after he fell in the final ball of the 43rd over, Umar Akmal (19, 13b, 1x4, 1x6) and Shahid Afridi (21, 7b, 1x4, 2x6), who went past 8000 runs in this match, came in and hit a few as well, with Misbah taking over the lead smashing duties perfectly.
Misbah, with his innings of 65 from 49 (4x4, 2x6), showed he is not just about saving Pakistan from the batting mires, with the captain playing intelligently and picking the gaps perfectly, be that with the conventional slog-sweep or the more unconventional reverse-sweep.
Pakistan scored 143 runs in the final 12 overs, with their middle/lower-middle order coming to the fore, and those runs ensured they would walk away with a second straight CWC victory.
Get the Scorecard of Pakistan vs UAE HERE