USA Stuns Pakistan in Super Over Thriller, Tops Group A in T20 World Cup

Featured & Cover USA Stuns Pakistan in Super Over Thriller Tops Group A in T20 World Cup

In a stunning display of resilience, newcomers USA triumphed over former champions Pakistan in a Super Over to secure their most significant victory in a T20 World Cup match on Thursday. This win not only highlighted the declining state of cricket in Pakistan but also drew parallels with their infamous three-wicket loss to Ireland in the 2007 ODI World Cup, which led to their early exit from that tournament.

With this victory, USA ascended to the top of Group A, having won both their matches so far. They had previously defeated Canada by seven wickets in their opener. This impressive performance sets the stage for their upcoming clash against India.

Electing to field first, USA’s left-arm spinner Nosthush Kenjige delivered an impressive spell, taking three wickets for 30 runs. Pakistan struggled to gain momentum and managed a total of 159 for seven. Kenjige’s ability to restrict Pakistan’s batsmen played a crucial role in keeping their score within reach.

In response, USA matched Pakistan’s total, scoring 159 for 3. Skipper Monank Patel led from the front with a crucial 50 off 38 balls, supported by Aaron Jones, who remained unbeaten with 36 off 26, and Andries Gous, who added a brisk 35 off 26. Their collective effort ensured the match ended in a tie, necessitating a Super Over.

During the Super Over, USA accumulated 18 runs, with eight of those coming from extras bowled by Mohammad Amir. Saurabh Netravalkar then showcased his composure, restricting Pakistan to just 13 runs, thus sealing a memorable win for USA.

Kenjige’s impactful performance set the tone early in the match, putting Pakistan on the back foot. Despite their efforts, Pakistan found it challenging to accelerate, managing only 159 for seven. Kenjige’s three wickets for 30 runs were pivotal in keeping Pakistan in check.

USA’s chase was spearheaded by Monank Patel, who displayed his prowess through the off-side, particularly against Iftikhar Ahmed, hitting two consecutive boundaries through the cover region. Patel’s aggressive approach was evident as he hit Afridi for a boundary over mid-off and followed it up with a six over the bowler’s head, bringing up his 50 off 34 balls. However, his 68-run second-wicket partnership with Gous was eventually broken by Haris Rauf, who bowled a quick delivery that dismissed Gous.

Pakistan managed to pick up crucial wickets, including that of Patel, who edged a delivery from Mohammad Amir to Rizwan. Aaron Jones, continuing his excellent form from the previous match against Canada, remained unbeaten on 36 off 26 balls. Together with Nitish Kumar (14 not out off 14), Jones guided USA into the Super Over.

The chase saw Jones needing to score 12 runs off the last three balls. He hit a full toss from Rauf over square leg for a six, followed by a single, reducing the target to five off the final ball.

Earlier in Pakistan’s innings, they lost Usman Khan early, who mistimed a delivery from Kenjige. Fakhar Zaman’s aggressive attempt was short-lived as he was caught off a simple catch by Taylor from Ali Khan’s delivery in the fifth over, leaving Pakistan at 26 for 3. Shadab Khan (40 off 25) and skipper Babar Azam (44 off 43) then steadied the ship, particularly with Shadab hitting two consecutive sixes off Jasdeep Singh and Azam finishing the 10th over with a boundary, accumulating 20 runs.

The partnership between Shadab and Babar injected momentum into Pakistan’s innings as they attacked Harmeet Singh’s bowling. However, Kenjige’s double strike in the 13th over, dismissing both Shadab and Azam Khan on consecutive deliveries, brought USA back into contention. Shadab was caught at short fine leg, while Azam Khan was trapped in front of the wicket. Azam, who narrowly missed another half-century, went for a review, but the decision stood.

Towards the end of Pakistan’s innings, contributions from Iftikhar Ahmed (18 off 14) and Shaheen Shah Afridi (23 not out off 16) pushed the score beyond the 150-run mark. Despite their efforts, it wasn’t enough to secure a win against a determined USA side.

USA’s positive body language was evident throughout the match, especially with Patel and Gous leading the charge. Patel’s capability to score through the off-side and his aggressive play against Afridi highlighted his innings. His half-century off 34 balls, marked by a six over the bowler’s head, was a key moment in USA’s chase. The dismissal of key players like Patel and Gous by Rauf and Amir, respectively, brought tension into the match, but Jones’ calm presence ensured USA stayed in the game.

In the climactic Super Over, USA’s 18 runs, boosted by extras from Amir, set a challenging target for Pakistan. Netravalkar’s disciplined bowling under pressure restricted Pakistan to 13 runs, clinching a remarkable victory for the USA.

This historic win not only underlines USA’s potential in international cricket but also serves as a wake-up call for Pakistan, reflecting the tumultuous state of their cricket. As USA prepares for their next match against India, they will carry the confidence of this landmark victory.

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