US cricket team advances to second round in Twenty20 World Cup debut at Pakistan’s expense

LAUDERHILL, Fla. (AP) — The United States cricket team made more history by reaching the second round in its Twenty20 World Cup debut after its last group game against Ireland was washed out on Friday.

Rain meant the match at Broward County Stadium was abandoned without a ball bowled, advancing the Americans to the Super Eight stage and automatically qualifying them for the 2026 Twenty20 World Cup in India and Sri Lanka.

South Africa beat Nepal by one run and New Zealand defeated Uganda by nine wickets in later matches Friday.

The U.S. qualified for this T20 World Cup only as a co-host with the West Indies, but it has used home advantage to make a stunning first impression in its first major cricket tournament.

While the Americans progressed alongside unbeaten India from Group A, former champion Pakistan and winless Ireland were eliminated from Super Eight contention.

Pakistan won the title in 2009 and reached two more finals, including at the last T20 World Cup in 2022. Pakistan has failed to get out of the group stage for the first time. Ireland was expected to be a threat, too. The Irish also reached the second round on debut in 2009 and repeated in 2022.

The competition point from the washout was enough for the U.S. to advance after beating Canada in Texas and stunning Pakistan in Texas during the first week.

Tying Pakistan in regular overs then beating it in a super over was one of the greatest upsets in the tournament’s history.

The Americans were thumped by India, one of the title favorites, as expected on Wednesday but the hosts’ progression without being able to play on Friday was still well deserved.

The umpires made four inspections of the wet outfield before heavy rain arrived at around 1:30 p.m. local time and the match was called off three hours after its scheduled start.

The 17th-ranked U.S. joined the West Indies, India, Australia, South Africa and Afghanistan in the Super Eight, with two more teams yet to qualify.

South Africa edges Nepal

Nepal has come within a whisker of achieving its best-ever win in cricket, losing by one run to powerhouse South Africa at Kingstown, St. Vincent in the Caribbean.

Nepal needed two runs from the last ball of the match to win, one run to match South Africa’s modest total of 115-7 and force a Super Over. But teenager Ghulsan Jha was run out at the non-striker’s end attempting a single from the final ball and South Africa held on to win a thrilling match.

The Nepal players were disconsolate. They seemed to be headed for Nepal’s first win in 12 attempts against a ICC full member nation when they needed 22 runs from the last 24 balls.

They needed 18 runs from 18 balls but lost three wickets for one run within six balls including two wickets to Tabraiz Shamsi and the equation changed.

Gulshan was unable to score from the first two balls of the last over, bowled by Ottneil Baartman. He then slashed a four through the off side and Nepal needed four runs from three balls. Gulshan ran two with Sompal Kami and Nepal needed 2 from two balls.

The fifth ball was a dot ball — no runs were scored — and Gulshan was run out next ball to end the match.

“We were very close and yet so far,” Nepal captain Rohit Paudel said. “I think in crunch moments we did well and the way we fought was very good. If we can play top teams more regularly then next time we will be on the winning side.”

New Zealand wins at last

Tim Southee took three wickets for four runs as New Zealand achieved its first win in Group C, bowling out Uganda for 40 in 18.2 overs and reaching that target with nine wickets to spare.

Southee and his long-time bowling partner Trent Boult who took two wickets for seven runs, and Rachin Ravindra with 2-9 combined to bowl out Uganda for the third lowest total at a T20 World Cup.

Uganda was bowled out for 39 by the West Indies earlier in the tournament and shares that record with the Netherlands who made 39 against Sri Lanka in 2014.

New Zealand had no chance of reaching the Super Eight stage after losing its first two matches to Afghanistan and the West Indies. Those two teams have secured the Super Eight qualifying spots from Group C.

“It was obviously a pretty clinical performance and nice to get a win,” Southee said. “We’re extremely disappointed to have played ourselves out of the tournament.”


AP cricket:

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