Pakistan crush Canada by 7 wickets to notch up first win in T20 World Cup

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New York, Jun 11 (PTI) Pakistan batters finally rose to the occasion to beat Canada by seven wickets in their must-win Group A match and and give their campaign a boost in the T20 World Cup here on Tuesday.

Opting to bowl, Pakistani bowlers produced a unified show to restrict Canada for a modest 106/7.

Chasing, opener Mohammad Rizwan and skipper Babar Azam took Pakistan over the line with 15 balls to spare.

Rizwan aand Babar shared 63 runs for the second wicket to set up the platform for the win.

Babar made a run-a-ball 33 with one six and a four, while Rizwan once again played the role of an anchor in a small chase, scoring 53 not out from as many deliveries with two fours and a six.

Pakistan did appear to be making heavy weather of a modest chase when they had crawled to 28 for 1 in the powerplay with the Canadian seamers doing a fine job.

However, run-scoring became much easier when Canada spinners came into the attack and with their vast experience, Babar and Rizwan brought the equation down with deft rotation of the strike and punishing the bad balls.

Earlier in the first half, Aaron Johnson's 52 was the only bright spot for Canada as an inspired Pakistan restricted their opponents to 106 for 7.

On a two-paced wicket with the occasional uneven bounce making the rest of their batters struggle, Johnson waged a lone battle for Canada with a 44-ball 52, studded with four sixes and as many fours even as the Pakistani bowlers kept chipping away with wickets.

While Mohammad Amir was the pick of the bowlers with 4-0-13-2, Haris Rauf returned with 2/26 while Shaheen Shah Afridi (1/21) and Naseem Shah (1/24) recovered well after wayward starts.

The only Canadian batter to trouble the Pakistan bowlers, Johnson did not shy away from attacking on every available opportunity.

It was his hits down the ground that caught the eye and he managed to clear the ropes with brute power even if he had not timed them well.

But shortly after having completed his half-century, Johnson perished when he missed a Naseem Sham delivery to be cleaned up.

With the burly Johnson dismissed at the team total of 73, Canada were in danger of being restricted for far less or even bowled out but skipper Saad Bin Zafar (10) and Kaleem Sana (13) took their team past the 100-run mark to give their bowlers a total to bowl at.

The pressure was telling when Pakistan's strike bowler Shaheen began with two full tosses on the pads and Johnson put them away for boundaries.

Johnson cashed in again when Naseem began with a delivery moving away from the batter but he sent it flying over the field on the off-side for the third four.

Pakistan's first success came through Amir, who after being hit for a first-ball four, cleaned up Navneet Dhaliwal off the final delivery.

Shaheen returned with a change of ends to get Pargat Singh (2) caught by Fakhar Zaman as Pakistan pulled things back by the end of the powerplay.

Imad Wasim then produced a direct hit from cover to run out Nicholas Kirton (1) at the non-striker's end, which piled up further pressure on Johnson who did all the heavylifting in the top order.

Haris Rauf produced a double-wicket 10th over to have Shreyas Movva (2) caught behind and Ravinderpal Singh (0) caught in the first slip to leave Canada reeling at 54 for five, while also completing his 100 T20I wickets. PTI DDV SSC SSC

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