June 21st, 2024

Jones, Gous power the U.S. to a seven-wicket win over Canada at ICC T20 World Cup

By The Canadian Press on June 1, 2024.

United States' Milind Kumar throws the ball to teammate Monank Patel as they warm up ahead the men's T20 World Cup cricket match between the United States and Canada at Grand Prairie Stadium, in Grand Prairie, Texas, Saturday, June 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas – Aaron Jones scored 94 not out and Andries Gous added 65 to power the U.S. to a remarkable seven-wicket win over Canada in the opening match of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup on Saturday night.

It was a disappointing debut for the Canadians, who batted well but were unable to deal with the American No. 3 and 4 batsmen.

The U.S. won the toss and elected to field at the Grand Prairie Cricket Stadium, some 20 kilometres west of Dallas.

Canada, ranked 23rd in the world, finished its 20 overs at 194 for five, setting an imposing target of 9.75 runs per over for the 18th-ranked U.S. Navneet Dhaliwal scored 61 runs and Nicholas Kirton added 51.

“A good wicket to bat on,” said Dhaliwal. “Very happy with that.”

The U.S. replied with 197 for three, reaching the victory target with 14 balls to spare. Jones delivered the coup de grace with his 10th six.

After a decent start, Canada’s bowlers faltered with Gous and Jones hitting hard and long in a stirring innings.

Jones, reaching his half-century off just 22 balls, also slammed four fours in his 40-ball innings and Gous hit seven fours and three sixes.

Their 131-run partnership came to an end in the 16th over when Gous was caught at the boundary with the U.S. at 173 for three.

The Americans went from 48 for two after eight overs to 159 for two after 14 overs – with 33 runs coming from the 14th over alone. That left them needing 36 runs from 36 balls.

Both teams were making their T20 World Cup debut.

The fourth-ranked West Indies, which is co-hosting the 55-game tournament, opens Sunday against No. 20 Papua New Guinea at Guyana National Stadium.

T20 cricket is the shortest and most action-packed form of the game, with each team batting for just 20 overs. It will be part of the Olympic program in 2028 at the Los Angeles Games.

It was 24 Celsius for the evening start with Canada’s Aaron Johnson greeting Ali Khan’s first ball with a boundary for four runs.

A change in bowling slowed the Canadian attack and Johnson, on 23 runs, became the first batsman to exit at the tournament when he was caught by Nitish Kumar in the sixth over – the final over of the powerplay when the fielding team can have no more than two fielders outside the 30-yard circle – off a Harmeet Singh delivery.

Canada, 43 for one when Johnson was removed, reached the 50-run mark on a Dhaliwal six later in the over.

Canada was 85 for two after 10 overs with Dhaliwal on 40 at the drinks break. Dhaliwal reached his half-century and Canada’s 100-run mark with a single run in the 12th over.

Dhaliwal was eventually caught by Jessy Singh in the 15th over on former New Zealand international Corey Anderson’s first delivery with Canada at 128 for three. The 35-year-old from Brampton, Ont., hit six fours and three sixes in his 44-ball innings.

Kirton reached his half-century with the last ball of the 17th over but was caught by Anderson, off a Khan delivery, one over later for a career-high 51 with Canada at 159 for four. Kirton had three fours and two sixes in his 31-ball knock.

The U.S. bowlers slowed Canada down in the dying overs before Dilpreet Bajwa hammered a four and a six off consecutive balls in the 19th over. But Bajwa’s innings lasted just five balls before he was run out on 11 runs.

Shreyas Movva, who finished at 32, and Dilon Heyliger, one, combined for 21 in the last over to finish at 194 for five.

The U.S. wobbled early in response with opener Steven Taylor out lbw (leg before wicket) on Canada’s second delivery from Kaleem Sana, bowling in the high 130s km/h.

The U.S. was 41 for one at the end of the six overs of the powerplay. Captain Monank Patel was caught for 16 by Movva off a Heyliger delivery in the next over with the U.S. at 42 for two.

After a dry spell facing Canada’s seam attack, the Americans feasted on Nikhil Dutta’s spin with 19 runs in the ninth over to improve to 67 for two. They followed it up with a 14-run over off captain Saad Bin Zafar.

The U.S. beat Canada 4-0 when they met in a five-match T20 series in April in Grand Prairie, with one game rained out. The Americans followed that up in May by winning a three-match series with ninth-ranked Bangladesh by a 2-1 margin.

The North American rivals have cricket history with their first meeting – in New York in 1844 – believed to be the first-ever international match. Canada won by 23 runs.

The Canadians head to New York next to face Ireland on June 7 and Pakistan on June 11, with both games at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium some 50 kilometres east of Manhattan.

Canada wraps up Group A play against No. 1 India on June 15 in Lauderhill, Fla.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 1, 2024

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