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Pakistan Secures First Win in T20 World Cup 2024, Defeats Canada by 7 Wickets

New York, June 12: A clinical bowling performance led by Mohammad Amir (2-13) and Haris Rauf (2-26) and an unbeaten half-century by Mohammad Rizwan (53 not out) helped Pakistan beat Canada by seven wickets to register their first win in preliminary round Group A in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup here on Tuesday. Two defeats in successive matches against the USA and India had left Pakistan teetering on the brink in Group A with three teams above them in the race for Super 8 qualification.

By beating Canada, they have now raised some hopes of qualifying if other results go in their favour. The former champions made slow progress towards their target, eventually reaching 107/3 to win by seven wickets after 17 and a half overs. 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. And Haris Rauf tempted Shreyas Movva to nick on to wicketkeeper Rizwan – securing his 100th wicket in T20 internationals.

The 101st was not too long in following, coming two balls later as new batter Ravinderpal Singh edged to slip, and by the end of the tenth over Canada were 55/5. Johnson did manage to lead a brief resurgence, with 52 off 44 balls, before being bowled decisively by Naseem Shah. In reply, after a slow-scoring first three overs, Saim Ayub, who came in for Iftikhar Ahmed, made an effort to push it on and got a scare when he lofted a no-look shot towards Dhaliwal who palmed the ball away rather than closing his fingers around it. And in the fifth over Saim got his marching orders, edging Heyliger through to wicketkeeper Movva for just 6 runs. The experienced duo of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan came together to steer Pakistan to victory, with a partnership of 63 from 62 balls.

But Heyliger struck again, luring Babar to an edge behind for 33 to make the last five overs even tougher. Rizwan got the job done, though, making an unbeaten 53, despite new partner Fakhar holing Gordon out to the substitute fielder Dilpreet Bajwa with just three more runs required. Brief scores: Canada 106/7 in 20 overs (Aaron Johnson 52, Mohammad Amir 2-13, Haris Rauf 2-26) lost to Pakistan 107/3 in 17.3 overs (Mohd Rizwan 53 not out, Babar Azam 33; Dilon Heyliger 2-18) by seven wickets.

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