US stun Pakistan at T20 World Cup with thrilling super over victory

Saurabh Netravalkar (L) and Harmeet Singh –  US stun Pakistan at T20 World Cup with thrilling Super Over victory
Saurabh Netravalkar (left) and Harmeet Singh celebrate after US secure a historic win - Getty Images/Matt Roberts

The United States pulled off the shock result of the World Cup so far by beating Pakistan in a super over in Dallas.

‌A tense match was won by seamer Saurabh Netravalkar, who is from Mumbai, defending 19 with Pakistan falling well short, mustering 13 for one in the one over eliminator.

‌It is a hugely embarrassing result for Pakistan and puts them under immense pressure before the big showdown with rivals India in New York on Sunday.

‌The United States are only playing in their first Twenty20 World Cup and after winning their opening game against Canada are now in a strong position to qualify for the Super Eights. It will lift the whole tournament if the host country can have a good World Cup and do more to raise the profile of the sport than hosting the India-Pakistan blockbuster at the weekend.

‌It is the 14th time an associate member has beaten a Test playing nation, and the result puts United States top of Group A.

‌Pakistan were punished for a terrible performance on a hot, humid day in Dallas. They labaoured at the start of their innings slumping to 26 for three. Pakistan rallied to set 160 but United States were in a strong position at 104-1 in the 14th over. But Pakistan squeezed in the death overs and looked to have the game in the bag when United States started the final over needing 15.

‌They hit just three off the first three balls but Barbados born Aaron Jones, an old childhood friend of Jofra Archer’s, hit Haris Rauf for six to bring them back in the contest. A single off the next ball left United States needing five from the final delivery. Rauf missed his length trying the yorker and Nitish Kumar, who had really struggled to time anything, hit the ball over mid off for a one bounce four to level the scores.

Nitish Kumar – US stun Pakistan at T20 World Cup with thrilling Super Over victory
Nitish Kumar held his nerve to help US pull off a major upset in the T20 World Cup - Getty Images/Matt Roberts

‌Pakistan bowled first in the eliminator and relied on the experience of Mohammad Amir to see them through but the left-armer conceded three wides in a terrible over and some dopey fielding also enabled United States to run three precious twos and a three.

‌A target of 19 was always going to be tough but Pakistan sent in big hitters Fakhar Zaman and Iftikhar Ahmed, the right hand left hand combination a challenge for Netravalkar. He was lucky his opening ball was not called a wide, much to the anger of Pakistan.

His second was thumped for four by Iftikhar and the third, an attempted wide yorker, was called by the umpire. Pakistan now needed 14 but next ball Iftikhar was well held in the deep by Kumar, with the third umpire adjudging the ball had not been grounded after a lengthy look at the replays.

‌Another wide and six off the next two balls kept Pakistan in the game but Shadab Khan needed to hit the final ball for six to force a second super over eliminator but could only cut it to the off side for a single as United States celebrated the first upset of the tournament.

‌“It’s a huge achievement for us to beat Pakistan, who we are playing them for the first time,” said Monank Patel, United States captain. “I am just so proud of how we played. PLaying in WC doest happen every year and we were fully committed. It was a complete team effort.”

‌For Pakistan it is a devastating result and piles the pressure on them for Sunday’s India game. They have only beaten India once at a global tournament. “Yes, our task ahead is hard,” said Babar Azam, the Pakistan captain. “We didn’t capitalise with the bat and they took a lot of momentum. We lost back-to-back wickets in the middle overs. As a batting unit you need to step up, you need to create partnerships and we didn’t do that.

‌“We weren’t up to it in the first six overs with the ball as usual, not taking wickets again. And then our spinners are not taking wickets in the middle either. But it’s early in the tournament, we will come back from this.”

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