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US records historic upset of Pakistan during Cricket World Cup

In one of the most stunning upsets in international cricket history, the United States upended Pakistan in the group stages of the T20 World Cup.

During the match, played Thursday at Grand Prairie Stadium near Dallas, the American team got the four it needed on the final ball of regulation to send the match to a super over. At that point, Pakistan could have been expected to increase its preeminence as a traditional power in sports. But the favorites made a number of mistakes by allowing the Americans to score 18 runs while batting first.

With immense pressure on him to keep Pakistan below that total, American bowler Saurabh Netravalkar allowed just 13, with the help of a great catch from Nitish Kumar. When Pakistan’s Shadab Khan, who needed six off the final ball to send the match to another super over, hit just one single, the American team erupted into pandemonium.

“It’s a huge achievement,” said American captain Monank Patel. “To beat Pakistan, we’re playing them for the first time. I’m just so proud of how we played.”

Suddenly, after beating Canada in the World Cup opener, the United States is in danger of reaching the quarter-finals of their first international T20 tournament. The country started playing the streamlined version of cricket at the highest level in 2019 and qualified for this year’s World Cup by co-hosting the tournament with the West Indies.

Pakistan, on the other hand, won the tournament in 2009, two years after finishing second when the T20 World Cup was first organized by the International Cricket Council. Pakistan were also runners-up at the 2022 World Cup, losing to England in the final and reaching the semi-finals three times.

Thursday’s result puts even more spotlight on the much-anticipated match between Pakistan and arch-rival India, which takes place in New York City’s neighboring Nassau County on Sunday. If Pakistan loses, they will urgently need to win their remaining group stage matches against Canada and Ireland and may still need help to progress.

“It’s still early in the tournament – we’ll bounce back from this,” said Pakistan captain Babar Azam. “Yes, our task is difficult. But credit to the US, they performed so well today. They were better than us in all aspects of the game.”

The United States is the only team in the five-nation group to have played two matches and unexpectedly sits at the top of the quintet. The Americans, who were ranked 18th by the ICC on Thursday while Pakistan was ranked sixth, will play matches against top-ranked India on Wednesday and No. 11 Ireland on June 14.

Among Thursday’s heroes for the US were Queens-born batsman Aaron Jones, who followed up an excellent performance against Canada with crucial knocks late on against Pakistan, and the batting tandem of Patel (50 runs) and Andries Gous.

Early in the match, when Pakistan batted first in regular play, Steven Taylor made a diving grab with one hand to take a wicket. Pakistan got off to a slow start but rallied to finish with a solid 159 runs. That wasn’t necessarily an insurmountable number for a group of Americans who had posted 197 in their opener, but this time they were up against an imposing array of Pakistani bowlers, including Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Amir, Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf.

However, Amir was shaky in the super over, good for three wide balls. When it was the turn of the Indian-born Netravalkar, who has a day job as an engineer at Oracle, he continued his team’s daily theme of impressive calm in the face of overwhelming odds.