Pakistan Triumphs in T20 World Cup with Stellar Performances from Amir and Rizwan

Pakistan secured their first win of the tournament by defeating Canada by seven wickets in New York in the ICC T20 World Cup 2024.

Mohammad Amir’s exceptional bowling and Mohammad Rizwan’s steady batting were pivotal in this much-needed victory. This win not only boosts Pakistan’s morale but also keeps their qualification hopes alive.

Pakistan Triumphs in T20 World Cup with Stellar Performances from Amir and Rizwan
Photo credit: ESPN Cricinfo

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

Pakistan overcame Canada by seven wickets in New York, their first victory of the T20 World Cup, thanks to a solid all-around performance. Finally, there was something to be joyful about for Pakistan. Despite an Aaron Johnson 44-ball fifty-two, the fast bowlers combined to take six wickets to restrict Canada to 106 for 7 in their twenty overs, setting up the victory. Although Canada’s total was not very high for the New York venue, the score was swift.

Pakistan responded, fumbling the powerplay.
Instead of Iftikhar Ahmed, they had brought in Saim Ayub, who left to go open with Mohammad Rizwan, severing the Rizwan-Babar Azam connection at the top. Nevertheless, Ayub failed to capitalize on the option, falling for six off twelve balls.

However, Babar and Rizwan used their combined experience to contribute 63 runs off of 62 balls for the second wicket. With the victory clearly in sight, Babar fell, but Rizwan did not give up, scoring an undefeated fifty-three runs in a ball to give Pakistan the victory with fifteen balls remaining.

After winning a key toss once more, Babar didn’t hesitate to field first. “First-over Shaheen Afridi” was the one he would have hoped would work his magic. However, Aaron Johnson, the first over, was the one lighting the stage on fire. He hit a shin-high full toss for four with the opening ball of the innings, then smashed Afridi straight down the ground for another four on the following ball.

This was the first men’s T20 World Cup encounter in which the opening two balls were hit for boundaries. Without the lazy outfield, the third ball would have likewise gone for a straight four. Johnson then gave Naseem Shah a backward point, giving Pakistan the impression that they were losing steam.

The only person who got his length exactly right from the start was Muhammad Amir, and he was properly rewarded. The first ball saw Navneet Dhaliwal hit him for a four through point, but Amir retaliated with a fiery in-dipper that crushed Dhaliwal’s middle stump.

Both Afridi and Naseem quickly discovered their lengths. Johnson kept making his shots, but there were a lot of plays that he missed. After six overs, Afridi switched up his bowling end and had Pargat Singh edge to first slip, bringing Canada to 30 for 2.

Also Read: Zampa Four-for Secures Australia’s Super Eight Spot in T20 World Cup

The most significant moment in the Canada innings occurred in the seventh over when their best batsman thus far in the competition, Nicholas Kirton, went out of the game following a direct throw from the covers by Imad Wasim. After that, Johnson stuck put, but Canada continued to lose wickets at the other end.

After removing Shreyas Movva to secure his 100th T20I wicket, Haris Rauf struck twice in three deliveries. He then had Ravinderpal Singh caught at slip; Canada, having made a strong start, had collapsed to 55 for 5 after ten overs.

In only two overs, Johnson sent Wasim twice over the boundary, with his sixth T20I fifty coming off just 39 balls on the second shot. Naseem rocked his stumps when he fell for 52, but he was unable to continue.

After then, Canada’s innings was unable to gather any pace as Pakistan only let up 29 runs in their final five overs, including two fours and a six. At the men’s T20 World Cup, Canada faced 76 dot balls in total, which was the most in an innings. Pakistan had a 93% chance of winning the match at this point, according to the forecast. However, New York pitch events frequently cause calculations to be disturbed.

Canada were quite tight with their lines apart from Kaleem Sana’s five wides in the opening over. Ayub took a few tries before pushing Dilon Heyliger aside. Then, at No. 3, Babar experienced a nervous moment as an upstairs appeal for a caught behind down leg was made. Replays, however, appeared to indicate that the ball had left his pad.

Pakistan Triumphs in T20 World Cup with Stellar Performances from Amir and Rizwan
Because of his 2 for 13, Mohammad Amir was named the Player of the Match. ICC/Getty Images

In the sixth over, Rizwan hit the only four off the bat in the powerplay. By contrast, in their opening six overs, Canada had hit five fours.

Thirteen of the thirty-six deliveries from Canada in the powerplay were on a length or short of a length, based on Broadcaster’s logs. And the Pakistani hitters found it difficult to handle them.

In Canada’s previous match, Junaid Siddiqui and Saad Bin Zafar had the Ireland hitters in a tizzy, but Babar and Rizwan were having none of it. Before Babar hit Junaid for a straight six down the ground, Rizwan initially swept Saad’s entire delivery with a deep-backward square-leg. Between overs six and 10, the two added 31 runs, getting the chase back on track.

They managed to keep the scoreboard moving until Babar went down, pushing Heyliger past the stumps. Babar turned and left, disgusted. But Rizwan made sure he stayed all the way through. With 52 balls, he scored his 29th T20I fifty. Although it was the slowest batting performance by a Pakistani player in the format, the victory was more significant given the circumstances.

Pakistan completed the match in 17.3 overs thanks to a run scored by Usman Khan. Although the victory did not increase their NRR over that of the USA, it was a good beginning in their attempt to significantly tilt the qualifying race in their favor following consecutive defeats.

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