Pakistan defeated Canada by seven wickets Tuesday to preserve its slender hope of moving on at the ICC Men's T20 World Cup.

Chasing a victory target of 107, sixth-ranked Pakistan chipped away with ones and twos before an announced crowd of 16,328 at Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in suburban New York.

Usman Khan's two-run shot off Jeremy Gordon with 15 balls remaining carried Pakistan to victory at 107 for three. Opener Mohammad Rizwan led Pakistan at 53 not out, with two fours and one six in his 53-ball innings, while captain Babar Azam added 33.

Opener Aaron Johnson led the Canadian batting attack with 52 runs.

Only the top two in each of the tournament's four pools advance to the Super-8 stage.

The Pakistanis (1-2) still need to beat No. 11 Ireland (0-2), improve its run rate and hope the 18th-ranked United States (2-0) loses its remaining two matches to achieve its goal of moving on. Top-ranked India (2-0) and the U.S. meet Wednesday with the winner assured of advancing and the loser still in a good position to join them.

The 23rd-ranked Canadians (1-2), who wrap up Group A play against India on Saturday, are destined for an early exit. They sit fourth in Group A, ahead of only Ireland.

Canada finished at 106 for seven in its 20 overs, with Johnson leading the way after Pakistan won the toss and elected to field. Twenty-one of the Canadian runs came from the first and last overs.

"It was difficult to bat, especially early on. Not a good toss to lose," said Canada captain Saad Bin Zafar. "But I believe Pakistan bowlers bowled really well."

Johnson hit four sixes and four fours in his 44-ball knock. Canada's eight other batsmen combined for just 41 runs with Pakistan yielding 13 extras.

Pakistan's Mohammad Amir was named man of the match, taking two wickets for the expense of just 13 runs in his four overs.

"That was a much-needed win, to be honest," said Amir. "You never know. One more win and who knows?"

Canada, making its debut at the T20 championship, was coming off a 12-run victory over No. 11 Ireland. The Canadians lost the tournament opener by seven wickets to the U.S.

"We are not just here to be a part of the tournament," Johnson said before the Pakistan match.

Johnson backed that up with consecutive fours to kick off an opening 11-run over. But the Pakistani bowlers found their rhythm and Canada was 30-2 at the end of the six-over powerplay after early exits for Navneet Dhaliwal (on four runs) and Pargat Singh (two).

Canada lost the in-form Nicholas Kirton, run out for one in the seventh over, in a miscommunication with Johnson, who  accounted for 34 of Canada's first 50 runs.

Pakistan pace bowler Haris Rauf dispatched Shreyas Movva and Ravinderpal Singh in the 10th over, collecting the 100th and 101st wickets of his T20 career.

Canada was 55 for five midway through its innings with Johnson and Zafar looking to steady the ship. The Canadians got a reprieve when Johnson was dropped in the 12th over.

The hard-hitting Canadian opener reached his 50 with a six the next over. But Johnson was bowled by Naseem Shah five balls later, exiting at 52 with Canada at 73 for six.

Pakistan was 28 for one at the end of the powerplay, where teams are allowed just two fielders outside the 30-yard circle. It was 59 for one after 10 overs.

Dilon Heyliger took two wickets for Canada.

Canada made one change to its starting lineup, with Singh slotting in for Dilpreet Bajwa. Saim Ayub came in for Iftikhar Ahmed, moving into the No.2 spot in the Pakistan batting lineup.

Canada's 137 against Ireland was the highest score in the six previous matches at the Nassau County stadium.

Both Canada and Pakistan head to Lauderhill, Fla., for their final Group A matches with Canada facing India in on Saturday and Pakistan playing Ireland on Sunday.

Pakistan won the T20 tournament in 2009 and was runner-up to England in 2020.

Matches between Canada and Pakistan are rare. Pakistan won by 35 runs the last time they met in T20 play in 2008 in King City, Ont.

In 50-over play, Canada lost to Pakistan by 46 runs at the 2011 ICC World Cup and eight wickets at the 1979 World Cup. 

---

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 11, 2024.