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Posted: Tuesday 11 June, 2024 at 5:33 PM

Amir fires Pakistan to victory against Canada in crucial Group A clash

By: Staff Reporter,

    ...Pakistan needed a win to be in with a chance of making the Super 8 stage.


    NASSAU COUNTY, New York --Two losses from two games had Pakistan teetering on the brink in Group A of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup, with three teams above them in the race for Super 8 qualification – including today’s opponents Canada.


    And they 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 are to progress - and now sit third in the group standings, behind India and USA.


    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 from Aaron Johnson.


    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.


    The loss to USA in their opener was a shock, and defeat last time out to rivals India has left Pakistan in a bit of a hole in a group that has provided plenty of drama so far. Canada were surprise but deserving winners over Ireland last week, recording what will undoubtedly go down as a famous World Cup win.


    But a second group-stage victory for the Canadians here would be the team’s biggest ever result in the format without question.


    Pakistan made one change to their line-up, bringing in Saim Ayub up the order in place of Iftikhar Ahmed, while Canada named Ravinderpal Singh in place of Dilpreet Bajwa.


    Pakistan sharp in field


    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.


    And captain Saad bin Zafar was next to fall, with another thick edge behind to Rizwan off Amir.


    Kaleem Sana and Dilon Heyliger took Canada over the century mark, giving Pakistan a target of 107 to win - although they will also be aware that they need to consider net run-rate if they are to make it through to the next stage of the tournament.


    Pakistan make slow progress


    After a slow-scoring first three overs, Saim Ayub 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 looked set fair 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.


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