Pakistan maintained their improvement in form at the ODI World Cup, with a straightforward victory (for once) over the United Arab Emirates in Napier, defeating their opponents by a healthy 129 runs. The much needed success elevated them above the surprise package at the tournament, the Irish, with both teams now tied on four points in Pool B. With both India and South Africa looking to be in pole position to take the top two spots in the group, it is beginning to look like a three-horse race for the remaining two places in the last-eight, with West Indies, Pakistan and Ireland all in the chase.

Currently, both West Indies and Pakistan remain above the Irish due to their superior run rates, which may prove decisive when the group stages come to a conclusion.

UAE were not expected to provide an overly difficult challenge for Pakistan in their latest group match, which seemed even more to be the case after the 1992 World Cup winners posted an impressive 339-6 from their allotted 50 overs. UAE had won the toss but decided to allow their rivals to have the first knock, which they may have had some cause for regret afterwards, given the sizeable total they ended up having to chase.

Opener Ahmed Shehzad scored an impressive 93 before being run out, with solid back-up from his fellow batsmen Haris Sohail (70) and captain Misbah-ul-Haq (65).

That was despite a poor start as Shehzad's opening partner Nasir Jamshed managed only 4 before his dismissal, leaving his side on 10-1. A second-wicket partnership of 160 between Shehzad and Sohail repaired the early damage and set the innings on its way, with acceleration at the end as 143 runs were plundered from the final 12 overs.

Even 'Boom Boom' himself, Shahid Afridi enjoyed a cameo innings of 21 not out at the end, to ensure the final score of 339.

UAE started in poor fashion in reply, slipping to 25-3 in the early stages and could never really recover their momentum, despite Shaiman Anwar again batting well to score 62. Clearly sensing that the target was well beyond their reach, they did at least complete their full 50 over innings, finishing on a disappointing 210-8. Afridi used all of his experience to return useful figures of 2-35 from his ten overs.