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United States shocks cricket heavyweight Pakistan at T20 World Cup after forcing super over

It was the co-host’s second straight victory in Group A after it romped to a seven-wicket win over Canada.
Pakistan's Shadab Khan plays a shot during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match
Posted at 5:30 PM, Jun 06, 2024

The United States scored a major upset at the T20 World Cup by beating cricket heavyweight Pakistan in the super over on Thursday.

The U.S. had routed Canada in its opening Group A game, but beating 2022 runner-up Pakistan counts as historic in a country that hardly understands the rules of the game.

Later, Scotland moved atop Group B with a five-wicket win over Namibia later at Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados. Namibia made 155-9 and Scotland reached its winning total with nine balls remaining.

Aaron Jones, who smashed a 40-ball unbeaten 94 against Canada, once again starred for the tournament co-host when he stretched the game into super over with another vital knock of 36 not out off 26.

Off successive deliveries, Jones hit a six off Haris Rauf and then a single before Nitish Kumar’s boundary off the final ball tied the score at 159 at the end of regulation as Pakistan's experienced fast bowler gave away 14 runs off the final six balls.

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Pakistan panicked in the super over when much experienced fast bowler Mohammad Amir, preferred over Shaheen Shah Afridi, gave away 18 runs that included seven runs off wide balls as Jones smashed a boundary against the left-arm seamer.

Left-arm fast bowler Saurabh Netravalkar, who earlier bowled brilliantly and grabbed 2-18 off his four overs, conceded only 13 runs in the super over to earn the U.S. its most historic Twenty20 win against Pakistan, the 2009 champion.

Iftikhar Ahmed smashed boundary off the Netravalkar's second ball, before holing out at long off as the left-arm seamer kept his cool and snatched a famous win for the U.S.

“It’s a big achievement, beating Pakistan while playing for the first time [against them],” U.S. captain Monank Patel said. “We used the conditions well [and] kept them to 160, which was chaseable.”

It was a disastrous start for captain Babar Azam's Pakistan, which is due to meet archrival India on Sunday in New York.

“All credit to the USA who did well in all the three departments and that’s why they won,” Babar said. “We couldn’t capitalize during the first six overs. We took the momentum, but back-to-back wickets hurt us.”

The Americans looked well on course to stun Pakistan during regulation game when skipper Patel hit 50 off 38 balls and together with Andries Gous (35) breezed the home team to 104-1 in 13 overs before Pakistan staged a comeback and dismissed both the set batters in successive overs as the U.S. finished at 159-3.

Patel and Ghous added 68 runs for the second wicket as Pakistan's four-man pace attack led by Shaheen Shah Afridi couldn't trouble them and leg-spinner Shadab Khan looked off, too, before Amir gave Pakistan a glimmer of hope.

Amir had Patel caught behind off a slow off-cutter and Ghous was clean bowled by Rauf. But Rauf, who bowled the last over with a cushion of 15 runs, couldn’t stop Jones and Kumar from taking the game into super over with two big hits off the final three deliveries.

Pakistan's batting, which has been struggling for a year in the sport's shortest format, got further exposed against some disciplined U.S. seam bowling after Patel won the toss and elected to field and restricted the opposition to 159-7.

The reunion of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan as the opening pair also couldn’t bail them out and the middle-order stuttered on a slow wicket.

Steven Taylor gave the home team a perfect start when he plucked a brilliant one-handed catch inches off the turf to dismiss Rizwan in the second over off Netravalkar.

The left-arm spin of Nosthush Kenjige (3-30) also troubled Pakistan batters inside the power play as Usman Khan played a reckless shot and holed out while Fakhar Zaman’s weak ramp shot couldn’t clear the fielder at short fine leg inside the 30-yard circle as Pakistan slipped to 26-3 in the fifth over.

Babar (44) and Shadab Khan (40) tried to regain the momentum and raised 72-run stand before Kenjige broke the threatening stand in the 13th over when Shadab was brilliantly snapped by Netravalkar at short fine leg and Azam Khan was pinned leg before wicket off the first ball by the left-arm spinner.

Babar, who became world’s leading T20 run-getter and surpassed Virat Kohli’s tally of 4,038 runs, looked scratchy in his 43-ball knock that included two sixes and three boundaries before he fell lbw to Jasdeep Singh’s delivery in the 16th over as Pakistan slipped to 125-6.

It was only due to Shaheen Shah Afridi’s 23 off 16 balls that included two late sixes that lifted Pakistan's total in the death overs.

Scotland wins

Captain Richie Berrington made an unbeaten 47 from 35 balls and shared a 74-run fifth wicket partnership with Michael Leask (35 from 17) which steered Scotland to its first win over Namibia in four T20 internationals.

Scotland took a point from its opening match against England which was rained out and now sits atop Group B with three points, ahead of Australia and Namibia with two. Namibia beat Oman in a Super Over finish to its first match.

Australia plays England on Saturday.

Captain Gerhard Erasmus made 52 from 30 balls and put on 51 for the fifth wicket with Zane Green (28) as Namibia made a 155-9 after choosing to bat.

Namibia lost three wickets in the power play and Erasmus lifted them from 48-3 at that point to 105-6 when he was out in the 14th over. He then took 2-14, bowling the eighth and 10th overs, to leave Scotland 69-3 at the midpoint of its innings when the match seemed tilted in Namibia’s favor.

But Berrington and Leask, coming together when Scotland was 73-4 after 11 overs, guided their team to victory. Leask took 1-16 with the ball and was player of the match.

“A lot of people have come out to watch us and that’s repaid their faith,” Leask said. “I don’t think we’re going to get over that for a while. It’s a helluva feeling.

“My role is simple, hit the ball hard, try to find gaps and if it’s in the slot, hit it out of the ground.”

Scotland came to the last five overs needing 47 runs, with the game still in the balance. Leask hit two sixes among 19 runs from the 17th over and that made the chase more comfortable.

Berrington finished it with a six from the third ball of the 19th over.

“It’s a big rivalry between us and in a World Cup there’s no better opportunity after putting 150 on the board to get a much-needed win,” Erasmus said. “Unfortunately we let that one slip.”