ICC Men's T20 WC'24: Pakistan Clinches Victory Against Canada with 7-Wicket Win

ICC Men's T20 WC'24: Pakistan Clinches Victory Against Canada with 7-Wicket Win
A clinical bowling display from Mohammad Amir (2-13) and Haris Rauf (2-26), combined with an unbeaten half-century from Mohammad Rizwan (53 not out), propelled Pakistan to a seven-wicket victory over Canada in the ICC Men's T20 World Cup preliminary round Group A. This win marked Pakistan's first in the group stage. Previously, consecutive defeats to the USA and India had put Pakistan on the verge of elimination, with three teams ahead of them in the race for Super 8 qualification. This victory against Canada has now revived their hopes of advancing, contingent on favorable outcomes in other matches.
A strong showing in the field meant they were able to secure the victory they knew they needed if they were to progress but they may yet regret not winning more resoundingly if they fail to grab their place in the next stage of the tournament. Canada made 106/7 from 20 overs, thanks primarily to a brilliant half-century by Aaron Johnson, who has now scored eight fifty-plus scores in T20Is, the most for Canada, breaking Navneet Dhaliwal's record. Johnson scored 52 off 44 balls, studded with four boundaries and as many sixes.
Pakistan went into the match knowing that they needed a win at the Nassau County International Stadium, and quite possibly by a significant margin, to get their campaign back on track with one more group fixture (against Ireland) to follow. Mohammad Amir made an early breakthrough with a terrific ball demolishing the stumps of Navneet Dhaliwal, leaving Canada 20/1 after three overs.
And Shaheen Shah Afridi - who went for ten runs in the first over of the innings - benefited from a smart change of ends, striking with the very first ball from the other end as Pargat Singh edged to Fakhar Zaman and leaving Canada on 29/2 after the first ball of the sixth over. A flurry of wickets followed. Nicholas Kirton was sent packing, run out after scoring a single, courtesy of swift thinking from Imad Wasim and ending a potentially fruitful partnership with Aaron Johnson.
Haris Rauf tempted Shreyas Movva to edge a catch to wicketkeeper Rizwan, securing his 100th wicket in T20 internationals. His 101st wicket came just two balls later when new batter Ravinderpal Singh edged to slip. By the end of the tenth over, Canada was struggling at 55/5. Despite Johnson's brief resurgence, scoring 52 off 44 balls, his innings was cut short by a decisive delivery from Naseem Shah.
In response, despite a slow start in the first three overs, Saim Ayub, substituting for Iftikhar Ahmed, attempted to accelerate the scoring. He had a moment of alarm when he lofted a no-look shot toward Dhaliwal, who managed to palm the ball away rather than secure it in his grasp. However, in the fifth over, Saim's innings came to an end when he edged Heyliger's delivery through to wicketkeeper Movva, departing after scoring just 6 runs.
The seasoned pair of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan joined forces to guide Pakistan towards victory, forming a partnership of 63 runs from 62 balls. However, Heyliger claimed another crucial wicket, inducing an edge from Babar, who departed for 33 runs, making the last five overs even more challenging. Nevertheless, Rizwan remained steadfast, crafting an unbeaten 53 to see his team through. Even when his new partner Fakhar fell to Gordon, caught by substitute fielder Dilpreet Bajwa, Pakistan needed just three more runs to seal the win.
Source: IANS