Rizwan rallies as Pakistan keep flickering T20 World Cup hopes alive by crushing Canada


Mohammad Rizwan scored a timely half-century and Babar Azam played a captain’s knock as Pakistan bounced back from successive defeats to beat Canada by seven wickets in New York.

 After shock opening loss to the United States, followed by a defeat against India, this victory keeps their hopes of reaching the T20 World Cup Super Eight stage alive.

Pakistan, third in Group A with two points after one win in three matches, have a shot at finishing in the top two if Ireland beat hosts United States on Friday and lose to Pakistan on Sunday. Canada, also on two points, need a win over India on Saturday to stay in the top-two race.

Aaron Johnson (52) waged a lone battle against Pakistan’s pace attack. Mohammad Amir (2-13) and Haris Rauf (2-26) led the charge for Pakistan, while Shaheen Afridi (1-21) and Naseem Shah (1-24) helped ensure Canada were unable to find rhythm.

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Only three Canadian batters reached double digits and if not for Johnson’s maiden World Cup fifty and a late flurry from Kaleem Sana (13 not out), Canada would have struggled to reach the modest total of 7-106 they posted.

Mohammad Rizwan. (Photo by Alex Davidson-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

The temporary arena in East Meadow, where India and South Africa defended less than run-a-ball targets in recent days, looked on course for another competitive low-scoring match as Saim Ayub (6) fell early and Pakistan looked shaky at 1-21 after five overs.

However, Rizwan (53 not out) and Azam (33) steadied the ship, taking few risks and frequently rotating strikes. A measured Azam hit one six and one four before he fell to Dillon Heyliger (2-18), but Pakistan comfortably reached their target with 15 balls to spare.

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