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    Pakistan Keeps T20 World Cup Hopes Alive with Victory Over Canada
Pakistan Keeps T20 World Cup Hopes Alive with Victory Over Canada
Pakistan vs Canada. Source: onearabia.me

Pakistan Keeps T20 World Cup Hopes Alive with Victory Over Canada

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

In New York, Muhammad Rizwan anchored Pakistan’s chase with a composed unbeaten 53 as they secured a seven-wicket victory over Canada, maintaining their slim chances of advancing to the T20 World Cup Super 8s.

Canada, batting first, posted 106-7 in their 20 overs, with Aaron Johnson’s 52 off 44 balls, including four sixes, standing out. His effort tied the record for the most sixes in an innings at this venue. For Pakistan, Mohammad Amir was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 2-13, while Haris Rauf reached a milestone of 101 T20 international wickets, taking 2-26.

In their chase, Pakistan’s Rizwan and Babar Azam put on a crucial 63-run partnership for the second wicket. Babar scored 33 before being caught behind by Dilon Heyliger, who finished with 2-18. Rizwan's steady knock, supported by Usman Khan, who hit the winning runs, saw Pakistan reach their target with 15 balls remaining.

To keep their hopes of reaching the Super 8s alive, Pakistan now needs to defeat Ireland in their final group match in Florida and significantly improve their net run rate, while also depending on favourable results in other matches to finish in the top two of Group A.

Despite the loss, Canada retains a slim chance of progressing but would need an extraordinary victory over India in their final group match. 

Pakistan’s World Cup journey has been tumultuous. They suffered a surprising defeat to co-hosts the United States in Texas and missed a golden opportunity to secure a win against India in New York. Fans at Eisenhower Park displayed their disappointment, holding signs expressing their frustration with the team's performance.

Gary Kirsten, Pakistan’s limited-overs coach, has been candid about the team’s shortcomings in recent days. Against a team ranked 23rd in the ICC’s men’s T20 rankings, Pakistan was under significant pressure to perform. Another defeat against an Associate nation would have deepened the crisis for Pakistan.

The relief from this victory was palpable. It marked the second T20 international between Pakistan and Canada, with Pakistan having decisively won their first encounter in Ontario in 2008. In this game, however, Pakistan had to work hard against a disciplined Canadian side composed partly of part-time players.

Aaron Johnson, Canada's standout batter, demonstrated his class with a robust half-century, building on his earlier performances in the tournament. Despite Johnson's efforts, Pakistan’s bowlers, spearheaded by Amir, proved too strong for Canada.

The early loss of Saim Ayub did cause some concern for Pakistan, but once Babar and Rizwan settled into their innings, the outcome seemed inevitable. Babar's straight six in the ninth over ignited the crowd, who erupted into chants of "Dil Dil Pakistan."

As the innings progressed, Pakistan’s focus shifted towards their net run-rate, critical for their qualification chances. Unlike the match against India, Rizwan maintained his composure to guide Pakistan to victory.

While advancing to the Super 8s remains a long shot for Pakistan, their unpredictable nature keeps the possibility alive.

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