Ahmed Shehzad anchored Pakistan’s innings and his bowlers then ensured UAE never seriously challenged it as their World Cup hopes continued for another day after a 129-run victory at McLean Park on Wednesday.
Misbah ul-Haq’s side had been under immense pressure before the Pool B clash in Napier, having been hammered by India and West Indies in their first two games and then lurching to a 20-run victory over Zimbabwe.
While they were hardly explosive on a wicket that is considered the best batting surface in New Zealand, they did patiently build an innings of 339 for six.
Their bowlers then kept the shackles on UAE, though there was some doubt as to whether they had any real interest in pushing for an unlikely victory as they batted out their 50 overs to finish on a pedestrian 210-8.
Pakistan’s towering opening bowler Mohammad Irfan was virtually unplayable for his first three overs in tandem with Sohail Khan, who took two wickets as UAE slumped to 25-3 in the 10th over.
Khurram Khan (43) and Shaiman Anwar (62) combined for an 83-run partnership but they were unable to score quickly enough as the overs ticked away and the game went through the motions.
Anwar has now scored 270 runs during the World Cup with two half centuries and a century.
The victory should reduce some pressure on Pakistan, who had been facing intense criticism from former players and pundits for the manner in which they had played during the tournament.
Shehzad, whose own poor run of form had been symptomatic of a top six that had not been scoring, looked desperately out of touch early in his innings.
He was also dropped twice but managed to somehow push, flick and caress his way to 93 as he and Haris Sohail put on 160 for the second wicket.
Shehzad was run out when his bat bounced up as he dived for the crease while completing a second run off Mohammad Naveed.
The 23-year-old trudged off having been in sight of the first century by a Pakistani at the 2015 World Cup.
Sohail scored 70 runs in the partnership with Shehzad before he fell during the batting power-play, which Pakistan had taken at the 30th over.
Sohaib Maqsood (45) and Misbah ul-Haq (65) then combined for a 75-run partnership as Pakistan increased the tempo with the captain falling in the 49th over, as Manjula Guruge (4-56) took two wickets in two balls
50th over – Javed is caught at long on for 40 by Khan off Riaz to end a 33-ball cameo. Riaz then bowls Patil for 36 on the penultimate delivery. UAE: 210-8
49th over – Javed inside edges a ball from Khan to fine leg for a boundary to bring up the 200 and then hammers him over extra cover for another four. UAE: 206-6
48th over – Javed lofts a ball down the ground off Riaz that pitches and stops for three runs to bring up the 50-run partnership. UAE: 198-6
46th over – Amjad Javed hammers Khan for 20 from two boundaries and two sixes to give those diehard fans remaining something to cheer. UAE: 185-6
42nd over – Swapnil Patil steers a single into the off-side to bring up the UAE 150 as the small crowd trickles away into the Napier night. UAE: 150-6
39th over – Shahid Afridi takes two wickets with Anwar the first to fall for 62 before Rohan Mustafa follows two balls later. UAE: 142-6
33rd over – Anwar hits two boundaries to bring up his third ODI half century and continue his impressive run at the World Cup. UAE: 127-4
30th over – Khan sweeps Maqsood straight to Riaz at backward square leg for 43 to end the 83-run partnership. UAE: 109-4
28th over – Anwar advances down the pitch and lofts Sohaib Maqsood over long off for a six to bring up the 100. UAE: 103-3
22nd over – Anwar flicks a single off his pads to bring up the 50-run partnership with Khurram Khan, who then hooks a six over fine leg off Wahab Riaz. UAE: 81-3
14th over – Shaiman Anwar hits a four and a six off Khan to provide some impetus to UAE’s innings. UAE: 41-3
10th over – Krishna Chandran has a slash at a full wide Khan delivery and is well caught by a diving Akmal for a duck. UAE: 25-3
8th over – Andri Berenger gets a thick outside edge to a Khan delivery and is caught by wicketkeeper Umar Akmal. UAE: 20-2
7th over – Rahat Ali replaces Irfan and has immediate success when he bowls Amjad for 14. UAE: 19-1
6th over – After a torrid opening spell from Mohammad Irfan and Sohail Khan, Amjad Ali hits Khan for two boundaries, the first of the innings. UAE: 15-0
50th over – Afridi belts two sixes in the final over as Pakistan score 20 runs to set a challenging target. PAK: 339-6
49th over – Akmal, who was dropped on 17 by Anwar on the boundary in the previous over, is caught by Amjad Ali off Guruge for 19 before Misbah falls on the next delivery for 65. Shahid Afridi survives the hat-trick ball. PAK: 319-6
47th over – Naveed has his figures ruined in his final over with 19 runs coming from it as Misbah and Akmal pass their 50-run partnership and push the team past 300. PAK: 303-4
46th over – Misbah reverse sweeps Mustafa for a single to bring up his 41st ODI half century. PAK: 284-4
43rd over – Guruge gets hit for two sixes, one by each batsmen to bring up the 250 for Pakistan but then has Maqsood caught for 45 by Rohan Mustafa, who juggles the ball twice, at point. PAK: 251-4
42nd over – Krishna Chandran gets belted for two sixes down the ground, one each from Maqsood and Misbah as Pakistan look to up the run rate. PAK: 238-3
39th over – Sohaib Maqsood brings up the 200 with the first of three fours off Javed. PAK: 209-3
35th over – Shehzad is run out for 93 attempting a second run off Naveed when his bat bounces in the air as he dives for the crease. Pakistan end their batting power-play having scored just 29 runs and lost two wickets. PAK: 177-3
33rd over – Sohail miscues a slog across the line and is caught at mid-on by Shaiman Anwar for 70 ending a 160-run partnership. PAK: 170-2
30th over – Shehzad almost falls into a leg-side trap when he steps across in front of his stumps to Krishna Chandran and flicks it just wide of the fielder behind square inside the circle for a boundary. PAK: 148-1
25th over – Sohail pulls a ball into the leg side for two runs to bring up his third ODI half century and the 100-run partnership. PAK: 113-1
24th over – Shehzad brings up his 11th ODI half-century with a single to long on from Khan. PAK: 108-1
23rd over – Sohail guides the ball into the off side for a single to bring up the team 100. PAK: 102-1
13th over – Sohail pushes UAE captain Mohammad Tauqir to deep extra cover for a single to bring up the 50-run partnership. PAK: 62-1
12th over – Sohail leans on an over-pitched delivery from Amjad Javed to push it to the mid-off boundary to bring up the 50. PAK: 58-1
10th over – Guruge struggles with his line, drifting down leg to Shehzad with a deflected boundary and two wides in the over. PAK: 41-1
9th over – Shehzad is dropped on 11 by Andrei Berenger at point off Mohammad Naveed. PAK: 31-1
8th over – Shehzad advances to Guruge and hits him down the ground though Khan jumps and gets his left hand to the ball but puts the catch down. PAK: 23-1
4th over – Nasir Jamshed plays a poorly timed pull shot to Guruge and hits it to Khurram Khan at mid-on to be dismissed for four. Haris Sohail sees out the rest of the over. PAK: 10-1
2nd over – Ahmed Shehzad picks up a short of length ball from left arm seamer Manjula Guruge and hits it aerially to the mid-wicket fence for the first boundary. PAK: 7-0
Nasir Jamshed, Ahmed Shehzad, Haris Sohail, Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Sohaib Maqsood, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Wahab Riaz, Sohail Khan, Rahat Ali, Mohammad Irfan
Amjad Ali, Andri Berenger, Krishna Chandran, Khurram Khan, Shaiman Anwar, Swapnil Patil, Rohan Mustafa, Amjad Javed, Mohammad Naveed, Mohammad Tauqir (captain), Manjula Guruge (Editing by Ian Ransom)