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Sensational Jones power USA to historic win in T20 World Cup opener

New York: A stunning 94* from 40 balls from Aaron Jones that included massive 10 sixes and four fours, helped by a brilliant 65 from Andries Gous led USA to a seven-wicket win in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 opener against Canada.

Left-arm seamer Kaleem Sana gave Canada the perfect start, dismissing the dangerous Steve Taylor for a duck. Andries Gous joined skipper Monank Patel, and the duo tried to up the scoring rate with a flurry of boundaries.

Canada, however, maintained discipline with the ball and soon struck again with Monank’s wicket. The batter fell a run-a-ball 16 while trying to take on Dillon Heyliger. A 19-run over against Nikhil Dutta, featuring a six each for Andries Gous and Aaron Jones, helped pick the USA rate up. Jones continued to attack, hitting Canada skipper Saad Bin Zafar for a six and a four in the 10th over.

The duo continued going for their shots, and pumped up the USA scoring rate. From 81/2, USA added 45 runs over the next three overs. Jones hit three sixes off Saad in the 13th over, reaching the fastest T20I fifty for his side in the same over, from merely 22 balls. Gous reached a fifty off his own in the next over, and survived a scare after he hit one straight to Dilpreet off Gordon, but the pacer had bowled a no-ball. His partner, Jones took advantage of the free hit and hit his eighth six off the next ball. The duo brought up their 100-run stand off merely 45 balls.

Gous fell after a well-made 65, but by then USA were well ahead in the chase. Jones remained unbeaten for 94* from 40 balls, leading USA to a comfortable seven-wicket win.

Aaron Johnson smashed the very first ball of the tournament over extra cover, setting the tone for Canada’s powerplay approach. His partner Navneet Dhaliwal got a four off his own in the very next over, but it was Johnson who took the charge for his side. He hit USA’s Ali Khan for three boundaries in the third over and Canada were off to a flier.

It was Harmeet Singh who got the dangerous Johnson, when the right-hander tried to hit the slow left-arm spinner towards the cow corner but instead found Nitish Kumar in the deep. Pargat Singh’s run out soon after gave the hosts another wicket.

Dhaliwal found good support in Nicholas Kirton and the duo set about reconstructing the Canadian innings. Dhaliwal brought up the first fifty of the tournament in the 12th over. Kirton got into the act soon after, hitting a six and a four against Shadley Van Schalkwyk to lift the run rate.

The experienced Corey Anderson got into the game thereafter, getting rid off Dhaliwal with his first delivery and then taking a sharp catch to dismiss the set Nicholas Kirton in the 18th over to give USA a boost. Six-filled cameos from Shreyas Movva (32* from 16) and Dilpreet Bajwa (11 from 5) then helped Canada take 35 off the final two overs.

Courtesy ICC

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