NewsPakistan stay in contention for a place in Super Eight Stage

Pakistan stay in contention for a place in Super Eight Stage

New York, 11 June 2024: Pakistan kept their chances of a place in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 Super Eight Stage alive after defeating Canada by seven wickets in a Group A match here on Tuesday.

The Nassau County International Cricket Stadium playing surface and outfield continued to prove to be a nightmare for the batters as Canada limped to 106 for seven, thanks to opener Aaron Johnson’s 52 after being put into bat. Pakistan’s batters found the going equally tough against an inexperienced Canada bowling attack before recording their first win after two successive defeats, for the loss of three wickets in 17.3 overs.

With India expected to beat the USA here on Wednesday and Canada in Florida on 15 June, Pakistan will closely follow the USA versus Ireland match in Florida on 14 June to know their fate. If Ireland manages to turn the tables on the USA, then Pakistan will need to beat Ireland on 16 June in Florida to earn tickets to Antigua and Barbados.

The USA’s victory against either India or Ireland will end Pakistan’s chances of progressing to the Super Eight Stage, irrespective of how their match against Ireland pans out.

Mohammad Amir picked up two wickets for 13 runs, Haris Rauf snapped up two wickets for 26 runs, while Shaheen Shah Afridi and Naseem Shah bagged a wicket each, conceding 21 and 24 runs, respectively, to limit Canada to 106 for seven. This included a run-a-ball 19-run partnership for the unbroken eighth wicket between Kaleem Sana (13 not out) and Dilon Heyliger (9 not out).

Aaron Johnson rode on his luck to score a 44-ball 52 with four fours and four sixes. After a couple of sparkling shots in the early part of his innings, Johnson used his muscle power well as a couple of mishits went across the boundary, while a couple of mistimed shots fell in no man’s land.

After Canada got off to a 20-run start in three overs, Pakistan bowlers pulled things back by reducing them to 88 for seven in 17 overs. Canada were 30 for two after the PowerPlay overs, while they were 55 for five at the halfway stage.

In their turn at the wicket, Saim Ayub, who replaced Iftikhar Ahmed in the playing lineup and opened the innings with Rizwan, departed after a 12-ball six with the score at 20 in the fifth over.

Babar Azam joined Mohammad Rizwan, and the two nudged and pushed the ball into gaps for ones and twos with rare boundaries to add 63 runs from 62 balls for the second wicket. At the total of 83 in the 15th over, Babar (33, 33b, 1×4, 1×6) tried a deft shot to third man and was caught behind. He had attempted a similar shot against India, only that time he was caught in the slip.

However, Rizwan didn’t repeat the mistake he made in the India match and continued to bat until he returned unbeaten on 53 – his 29th half-century in 101 matches. His 53-ball innings included two fours and a six.

Scores in brief

Pakistan beat Canada by seven wickets in Group A

Canada 106-7, 20 overs (Aaron Johnson 52, Mohammad Amir 2-13, Haris Rauf 2-26)

Pakistan 107-3, 17.3 overs (Mohammad Rizwan 53 not out, Babar Azam 33; Dilon Heyliger 2-18)

Player of the match – Mohammad Amir (Pakistan)

Pakistan’s next match – vs Ireland, 16 June, Florida

“I’ve got to say that is not a good surface to play an international match on,” Flower told ESPN cricinfo. “It is bordering on dangerous. You see the ball bouncing on a length both ways so skidding low occasion but in the main bouncing unusually high and striking people on thumb, gloves and helmet and making life very very difficult for any batsman.”

India will play Pakistan here on Sunday and with both sides boasting some of the best fast bowlers in the world, the batters in the two sides risk being hit.

“Shocking surface,“ Michael Vaughan posted on X. “Trying to sell the game in the States is great.. love it but for players to have to play on this sub standard surface in New York is unacceptable. You work so hard to make it to the WC [World Cup] then have to play on this.”

On what was the first international match at this venue on Monday, South Africa ripped apart Sri Lankan batting line-up as bowled them out for 77. The tricky nature of the pitch meant that South Africa had to work their way towards the target and could only win the contest in the 17th over after losing four wickets.

Former South Africa captain Faf du Plessis had labelled the pitch “spicy” on the occasion and former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan called it “not an ideal” pitch for T20 cricket.

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