Nitish Kumar of the US successfully completes a run during the T20 World Cup Group A match against Pakistan at the Grand Prairie Cricket Stadium in Dallas, on Thursday. Pakistan lost a nail-biting contest to the minnows in the Super Over.—AFP
Nitish Kumar of the US successfully completes a run during the T20 World Cup Group A match against Pakistan at the Grand Prairie Cricket Stadium in Dallas, on Thursday. Pakistan lost a nail-biting contest to the minnows in the Super Over.—AFP

DALLAS (Texas): Pak­istan never got going in their T20 World Cup opener and now face a tall order to advance from their group. A shock loss to hosts United States, who cruised to a memorable Super Over victory on Thursday, means Babar Azam’s men have been pinned to the wall at the very start of their campaign.

India come next and the question is how Pakistan will rebound from this humbling loss at the Grand Prairie National Cricket Stadium. The US were better in every department; Pakistan out of sorts. After being put into bat, Pakistan posted 159-7 with the US matching that score before they clinched the points in the Super Over under the blazing sun to turn up the heat on Babar and his charges.

Pakistan struggled with the bat; the 2009 champions being reduced to 26-3 inside five overs. After Steven Taylor’s stunning one-handed catch at slip off speedester Saurabh Netravalkar brought the end of opener Mohammad Rizwan, spinner Nosthush Kenjige had Usman Khan caught at long-off. Pakistan-born pacer Ali Khan made matters worse for the country of birth when he had Fakhar Zaman caught at short fine leg.

Pakistan were in danger of being wrapped up early only for a 72-run partnership between Babar Azam (44) and Shadab Khan (40) sparking hopes of a revival.

But Shadab, who hit three sixes in his 25-ball knock, and Azam Khan fell in successive balls to Kenjige, forcing Pakistan to build again after being reduced to 98-5.

Babar became the sixth batter to fall, lbw to Jasdeep Singh and after Iftikhar Ahmed fell on the first ball of the penultimate over, Pakistan had to rely on an unbeaten 23 by tailender Shaheen Shah Afridi to post a competitive total.

The US got off to a solid start thanks to skipper Monank Patel (50) and Steven Taylor. After Taylor was caught behind for 12 off Naseem Shah, Andries Gous joined Patel in belting Pakistan bowlers to all parts.

But Haris Rauf cleaned up Gous, who hit five fours and a six in his 26-ball 35, to revive Pakistan hopes and Mohammad Amir had Patel caught behind soon after.

Pakistan sensed a comeback and tight overs from Haris and Amir set up a grandstand finish.

The US needed 15 to win off the final over and Aaron Jones (36 not out) provided them the impetus with a six on the fourth delivery by Haris.

With five needed off the last ball Nitesh Kumar (14 not out) lofted Haris over mid-off to force the Super Over.

Jones then capitalised on an error-strewn eliminator over by Amir, where just 10 runs came off the bat but the US still posted 18-1.

Iftikhar got caught on the third ball of Pakistan’s reply Shadab got a lucky four on the fourth ball but Pakistan ended with 13 to spark US celebrations after their famous victory.

Scoreboard

PAKISTAN:
Mohammad Rizwan c Taylor b Netravalkar 9
Babar Azam lbw b Jasdeep 44
Usman Khan c Kumar b Kenjige 3
Fakhar Zaman c Taylor b Ali 11
Shadab Khan c Netravalkar b Kenjige 40
Azam Khan lbw b Kenjige 0
Iftikhar Ahmed lbw b Netravalkar 18
Shaheen Shah Afridi not out 23
Haris Rauf not out 3

EXTRAS (LB-4, W-4) 8
TOTAL (for seven wickets, 20 overs) 159
DID NOT BAT: Naseem Shah, Mohammad Amir
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-9 (Rizwan), 2-14 (Usman), 3-26 (Fakhar), 4-98 (Shadab), 5-98 (Azam), 6-125 (Babar), 7-139 (Iftikhar)
BOWLING: Kenjige 4-0-30-3, Netravalkar 4-0-18-2, Ali 4-0-30-1 (2w), Harmeet 4-0-34-0 (1w), Jasdeep 3-0-37-1 (1w), Anderson 1-0-6-0

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:
S. Taylor c Rizwan b Naseem 12
M. Patel c Rizwan b Amir 50
A. Gous b Haris 35
A. Jones not out 36
N. Kumar not out 14

EXTRAS (LB-1, W-11) 12 TOTAL (for three wickets, 20 overs) 159 DID NOT BAT: C. Anderson, H. Singh, J. Singh, N. Kenjige, S. Netravalkar, A. Khan

FALL OF WICKETS: 1-36 (Taylor), 2-104 (Gous), 3-111 (Patel)
BOWLING: Shaheen 4-0-33-0 (2w), Amir 4-0-25-1 (3w), Naseem 4-0-26-1 (2w), Haris 4-0-37-1 (1w), Shadab 3-0-27-0 (1w), Iftikhar 1-0-10-0
RESULT: US won the Super Over.

Published in Dawn, June 7th, 2024

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