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T20 World Cup, Group A, New York

Canada 106-7 (20 overs): Johnson 52 (44); Amir 2-13

Pakistan 107-3 (17.3 overs): Rizwan 53* (53); Heyliger 2-18

Pakistan won by seven wickets

Scorecard. Table

Muhammad Rizwan scored a consistent, unbeaten half-century as Pakistan kept their slim hopes of qualifying for the T20 World Cup Super 8s alive with a seven-wicket win over Canada in New York.

Aaron Johnson hit four sixes – joint most in an innings on this pitch – and scored an impressive 52 off 44 balls to help Canada to a score of 106-7.

Mohammad Amir finished with 2-13 for Pakistan, while Haris Rauf took 101 international T20 wickets with figures of 2-26.

Rizwan and Babar Azam laid the foundation for Pakistan’s reply with a stand of 63 for the second wicket before the latter was caught for 33 by Dilon Heyliger, who took 2-18.

Rizwan, who finished with a run-a-ball 53, brought Pakistan close to the target before Usman Khan scored the decisive runs with 15 balls to spare.

Pakistan will need to improve their net run rate by beating Ireland in their final match in Florida and hope that results go in their favour elsewhere to finish in the top two in Group A.

Despite this defeat, Canada could still mathematically qualify, but would first have to cause a surprise and beat India in the last group game.

Relief for Pakistan as Rizwan makes amends

It was a weak World Cup season for Pakistan.

A surprise defeat to co-hosts USA in the opening match in Texas was followed by a missed opportunity to beat India in New York.

Numerous homemade signs held up by Pakistani fans at Eisenhower Park during the match against Canada lamented the prevailing disappointment.

Pakistan’s limited overs coach, Gary Kirsten, has also not minced his words in recent days.

In truth, they were slow to make an impact against a team currently ranked 23rd in the International Cricket Council’s Men’s T20 World Rankings – the lowest of any team in the tournament.

Pakistan was expected to beat Canada handily, but a second humiliation at the hands of an associated country would have plunged the country into even deeper crisis.

The prevailing feeling that this victory evoked is simply relief.

This was the second time these teams had met in a T20 international match, with the first match in Ontario in 2008 being won comfortably by a star-studded Pakistani side.

Their 2024 counterparts had to fight at times against a well-trained Canadian team, some of whose players work part-time in banks, airports and the like.

Johnson, arguably Canada’s best shooter, had shown flashes of quality in the first two games with scores of 23 and 14, but with a combative half-century he was a class above his teammates.

However, Pakistan’s bowling attack was too strong for Canada when they finally gathered their strength under the leadership of Amir.

The departure of Saim Ayub may have caused some consternation in Pakistan, but once Babar and Rizwan found their rhythm, the result became a virtual formality.

When Babar hit a majestic six in a row in the ninth over, the fans erupted into “Dil Dil Pakistan” for the first time.

As the innings progressed, the players still had wickets in hand and the net run rate began to worry in the minds of the Pakistani top order.

Although he failed to complete the task against India, Rizwan was calm personified as he led Pakistan to victory this time.

Qualification for the Super 8s seems extremely unlikely, but with Pakistan you never know.

“A much-needed victory” – reactions

Player of the match, Pakistani bowler Mohammad Amir: “I had very clear plans and that’s why I’m so successful.

“That was a much-needed win. One more win and who knows?”

Canada captain Saad Bin Zafar: “It was a little disappointing. The pitch wasn’t really helpful, it was difficult to hit, especially early on, and it just wasn’t a good pitch to lose.”

“If we had scored 130 or more goals, we could have made a game out of it.”

Pakistan captain Babar Azam: “We needed this win.

“We will have the same attitude in the final. The conditions will be better, which will suit both teams. We will do our best to win this game.”

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