International Cricket

Match Report – CAN vs PAK 22nd Match, Group A, June 11, 2024

Pakistan 107 for 3 (Rizwan 53*, Babar 33, Heyliger 2-18) beat Canada 106 for 7 (Johnson 52, Amir 2-13, Rauf 2-26) by seven wickets

There was finally something at the T20 World Cup for Pakistan to be happy about as they produced a strong all-round show to record their first win of tournament, beating Canada by seven wickets in New York.

The win was set up by the fast bowlers, who combined to pick up six wickets to restrict Canada for 106 for 7 in their 20 overs despite an Aaron Johnson 44-ball 52 – that score was quick by the standards at the New York venue, and Canada’s total was not insignificant at all.

In reply, Pakistan stumbled in the powerplay.

They had brought in Saim Ayub in place of Iftikhar Ahmed, and Ayub walked out to open with Mohammad Rizwan, thus splitting the Rizwan-Babar Azam partnership up top. The decision did not pay dividends, though, as Ayub fell for 6 off 12 balls.

But Babar and Rizwan brought their experience into play, adding a 63-run stand off 62 balls for the second wicket. Babar fell with victory in sight, but Rizwan stayed put, crafting an unbeaten run-a-ball 53 to give Pakistan victory 15 balls to spare.

Johnson smashes, Amir strikes

Babar won another crucial toss and had no hesitation in fielding first.

He would have hoped for “first-over Shaheen Afridi” to do his magic. But instead, it was first-over Aaron Johnson setting the stage alight. He flicked the first ball of the innings, a shin-high full toss, through mid-on for four, before pumping Afridi straight down the ground for four more next ball.

This was the first time the first two balls in a men’s T20 World Cup match had been hit for boundaries. The third ball would also have gone for a straight four if not for the sluggish outfield.

Johnson then smashed Naseem Shah over backward point with Pakistan looking off the boil.

Mohammad Amir was the only one who got his length spot on from the get-go and he was duly rewarded. Navneet Dhaliwal picked him for a four through point first ball but Amir exacted revenge by sending a searing in-dipper that flattened Dhaliwal’s middle stump.

Afridi and Naseen Shaha, too found their lengths soon. And though Johnson continued to play his shots, there were plenty of plays and misses. And Afridi changed his bowling end and had Pargat Singh edging to first slip as Canada reached 30 for 2 after six overs.

Full report to follow…

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