USA stun Pakistan in T20 World Cup after Super Over thriller

Home team pull off biggest upset of tournament in Dallas against 2022 finalists

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USA pulled off the first big upset of this year's T20 World Cup as Pakistan suffered a shock Super Over defeat in Dallas on Thursday.

Babar Azam's team must have hoped for a routine start to the tournament ahead of the highly-anticipated clash against traditional rivals India on Sunday. But they stumbled badly at the first hurdle as hosts USA outplayed them in all departments of the game.

The scores were tied on 159 after 40 overs, which meant a Super Over. Pakistan had been sloppy all day and were even worse in the one-over contest. They gave away eight extra runs through wides and poor fielding as USA set a target of 19, which proved more than enough.

Left-arm seamer Saurabh Netravalkar, who was an U19 cricketer with the Indian team, kept his cool as he restricted the team in green to 13 to spark wild celebrations in Texas and breathe life into the tournament.

Pakistan's batting has been a big problem in recent times with their top order struggling to shift gears quickly. Their woes were laid bare at the Grand Prairie Stadium as USA sliced through the top order through cunning bowling and excellent fielding.

Opener Mohammad Rizwan was superbly caught one-handed at slip by Steven Taylor off left-arm seamer Netravalkar before Usman Khan, who had decided to give up a chance to represent UAE to play for the country of his birth, holed out off left-arm spinner Nosthush Kenjige to leave Pakistan 14-2.

Pakistan were in dire straits at 26-3 inside five overs before a partnership of 72 between captain Babar Azam (44) and all-rounder Shadab Khan (40).

Shadab and Azam Khan fell in successive balls to Kenjige.

Pakistan were faltering again at 98-5 before tailender Shaheen Afridi's unbeaten 23 boosted the total to 159-7.

Kenjige, who opened the bowling, took 3-30 - including two wickets in two balls - from his four overs and left-arm paceman Netravalkar returned miserly figures of 2-18.

The hosts had chased down a target of 195 to beat fellow non-Test nation Canada in their first Group A encounter but were now up against a far superior bowling attack.

But USA's top order was up to the challenge in conditions that were fairly conducive for batting. Captain Monak Patel held the chase together with a fine 50 off 38 balls that included a drive for six down the ground off paceman Afridi.

He looked like guiding the home team to a comfortable victory in the company of Andries Gous before the latter was castled by a quick delivery from Haris Rauf for a well made 35.

Captain Patel edged Mohammad Amir behind soon after reaching his fifty as Pakistan sensed a way back in at 111-3 with 49 needed from 35 balls.

Then came the twist in the tale. Pakistan quicks Afridi, Naseem Shah and Amir turned on the screws in the death overs to keep USA batsmen behind the asking rate. Aaron Jones (36) and Nitish Kumar (14) tried their best but Pakistan quicks nailed their yorkers to take the game away.

Pacer Rauf had 15 to defend in the last over and 12 off the last three. But Jones spanked a six over mid wicket off a full toss while Kumar drove a boundary down the ground to force a tie and Super Over.

Pakistan were rattled and it showed as USA batsmen kept stealing byes and extra runs to post a daunting target of 19. Pacer Amir too did not help matters by firing the ball down the leg side. When it was their turn to bat, Pakistan looked shell shocked and could only score 13.

Updated: June 06, 2024, 8:14 PM