Pakistan stuns Canada in T20 international

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Toronto, Oct 11 (UNI) Pakistan opener Salman Butt lifted his team to a comfortable 35-run victory over host Canada on the opening day of the Al Barakah T20 Canada 2008 cricket event at Maple Leaf North-West Ground King City.

After recording a confident 74 off 56 balls with three sixes and six boundaries to help Pakistan register its sixth win in its last seven Twenty20 Internationals, Butt collected the Man-of-the-Match 2,000 dollar prize yesterday.

The left-handed batsman held the innings together before being dismissed in the 19th over with his team well positioned at 127.

Pakistan eventually posted 137-7, a total that was well beyond Canada's reach.

''The wicket was a bit difficult for playing strokes so I was content to stay there and get some runs,'' said Butt, who dominated a fourth-wicket stand with Misbah-ul-Haq worth 64 off 47 balls.

Haq's contribution was 17.

Canada medium-pacers Umar Bhatti and Harvir Baidwan each claimed 3-23 (4 overs) and 3-15 (3 overs), respectively.

A run chase of almost seven an over was always going to be difficult for the Canadians, playing their first Twenty20 International against a Test-playing nation and their fourth overall.

Hard-hitting Pakistani-born opening batsman Rizwan Cheema picked up from where he left off in last August's triangular ODI series at the same venue, belting two huge sixes and four boundaries in Canada's reply of 102-9.

Cheema, the Player-of-the-Series two months ago, topscored with 34 off 42 balls while Ramesh David and skipper Sunil Dhaniram each scored 17.

''Unfortunately 137 was a bit too much for us on a wicket that kept a bit low, but I am happy with the way the team performed overall,'' Dhaniram pointed out.

Shoaib Akhtar, playing his first international since last December, marked his return with two early wickets of Abdool Samad and soon added Mohammad Iqbal as he chopped into his stumps.

Brief Score: Pakistan: 137/7 in 20 overs (Butt 74, Bhatti 3-24 and Baidwan 3-15) Canada: 102/9 in 20 overs (Cheema 34, Akhtar 2-11) Result: Pakistan won by 35 runs UNI XC CS RC PM1111

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