Pakistan throttle Canada

Pakistan began their Caribbean experience by beating Canada by 77 runs in an all round performance today.

Pakistan came into the World Cup with big question marks over their pace attack, with the devastating exclusion of Mohammad Asif and Shoaib Akhtar from the squad. Pakistan did not miss them, at least for today, as Canada was never really in the hunt when chasing.

The match started well for Canada, having won the toss and electing to field. Pakistan, opting to open with Younis Khan and Imran Nazir, were set back almost immediately as Younis Khan lost his wicket in the sixth over, making the score 22-1. Things kept going Canada’s way as Pakistan lost two more wickets despite double digit runs from both Nazir and Yousuf, neither able to convert their starts (making 26 and 21 respectively).

At 64-3, Pakistan needed a captain’s innings from Inzamam Ul-Haq to get back on track. He would have to do it without Shoaib Malik, as he was bowled by Osinde after making just one, leaving Pakistan in a very precarious position of 66-4.

There was an unlikely break in the 20th over, with the score 82-4 when the site screen unexpectedly blew over and the players had to leave until the screen was put back into place.

After a 75-minute delay, the match was shortened to a 48-over per side affair and Pakistan came out showing application in their batting by putting on a 94-run partnership. After scoring a composed half-century, Inzamam departed on 59 and Afridi was cleaned up one run later, going out for a duck.

Hafeez continued on, putting on a 40-run partnership with Akmal. After Hafeez departed, making 61, the score stood at 200-7 and it was up to Akmal and the tail to take Pakistan to a respectable total.

Though they were never able to accelerate completely, Mahmood and Naved ul-Hasan provided great support to Akmal and Pakistan ended their innings on a more than respectable 273.

S Dhaniram was the pick of the bowlers for Canada, with two wickets and 32 runs from six overs. H Osinde made two vital breakthroughs as well, ending up with figures of 2-41 from eight overs.

Canada in response started off well, with an opening stand of 60 between AM Samad and G Barnett. Samad scored 27 before falling to ul-Hasan and Garnett went soon after.

The collapse continued with I Billcliff following Garnett and at 75-3, Canada had squandered their perfect start.

Any hopes of a shock victory evaporated when the Canadian captain J Davidson and the promising wicketkeeper-batsman Bagai fell in quick succession reducing Canada to 91-5.

After that, it was all a formality, and despite a fighting 31 from A Mulla and Q Ali, Canada never really threatened the Pakistani total going down by 77 runs in the end.

Pakistan’s attack had big question marks coming into this game, but Inzamam will breathe at least a sigh of relief as the bowlers on display proved to be more than competent, with Hafeez especially useful in his part time spell (3.4 overs, and three wickets).

Pakistan 273
Mohammad Hafeez 61, Inzamam-ul-Haq 59, Kamran Akmal 56
S Dhaniram 2-32, H Osinde 2-41, AC Cummins 2-60

Pakistan won by 77 runs

Canada 196
Qaiser Ali 37, AA Mulla 31
Iftikhar Arjum 3-23, Mohammad Hafeez 3-10, Azgar Mahmood 3-24

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