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Bumrah helps India hold off archrival Pakistan in a low-scoring T20 World Cup thriller in New York

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WESTBURY, N.Y. (AP) — India was in a desperate situation, needing a moment or two of genius to defend a low total against cricket archrival Pakistan at the Twenty20 World Cup.

Skipper Rohit Sharma gave the ball to Jasprit Bumrah, relying on his go-to pace bowler to take the wicket Sunday that would swing the match into India’s favor.

The noise and excitement lifted in the capacity crowd at Long Island, with India fans outnumbering supporters from Pakistan.

And Bumrah delivered, later saying after returning match figures of three wickets for 14 runs that it felt like he was playing in India.

Chasing a seemingly meager target of 120, Pakistan was cruising at 80-3 after 14 overs before Bumrah cannoned a ball into the stumps to dismiss Pakistan’s top-scorer Mohammad Rizwan for 31. He added the wicket of Iftikhar Ahmed off the last ball of a terrific spell.

And so after bowling India out for 119 in 19 overs, Pakistan was restricted to 113-7 in 20 overs in the low-scoring thriller. India’s six-run win put Pakistan, the 2022 runners-up, on the brink of a group-stage exit.

“Bumrah is going from strength to strength,” Sharma, India’s captain, said. “I’m not going to talk too much about him — we want him to be in that kind of mindset until the end of this World Cup.

“He’s a genius with the ball.”

After being shocked by co-host United States in the Super Over at Dallas in its opening game, Pakistan recovered well to contain India’s powerful batting lineup after the start was delayed almost an hour by rain at Nassau County International Cricket Stadium.

The batters seemed to be handling the tricky, uneven pitch conditions well until Bumrah re-entered the attack for his third over.

From there, Pakistan’s middle-order batters were squeezed so much in the so-called death overs that it could hit only two boundaries in the last 36 deliveries.

Needing 18 off the last over, Naseem Shah (10 not out) smashed Arshdeep Singh for two boundaries before he left the field with tears in his eyes and was consoled by his batting partner Shaheen Shah Afridi.

It was the second-lowest total ever successfully defended at the men’s T20 World Cup. It was the lowest total India had ever defended in a full T20 international, and helped extend its mark to 7-1 in T20 internationals against Pakistan.

India beat Ireland by eight wickets in its opening game at the same ground and leads Group A with four points and a better net-run rate than the U.S. team, which also has four points from its wins over Canada and Pakistan.

Only two teams from each of the four groups advance to the second stage. So Pakistan needs to win its remaining games against Canada and Ireland and also hope results of other group games go in its favor to progress to the Super 8s.

“The pressure was on us,” Pakistan captain Babar Azam said. “You can’t expect too much from tailenders. We were not up to the mark in the first six overs, we had targeted 40-45 runs, but we couldn’t capitalize properly.”

Pakistan’s bowlers gave their team the advantage, with Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf each returning figures of 3-21 and Mohammad Amir, who came out of retirement for the World Cup, grabbing 2-23.

Rishabh Pant, who was dropped twice in a top-scoring knock of 42 off 31 balls, was one of only three India batters to reach double figures, along with Axar Patel (20) and Sharma (13).

India batting great Virat Kohli lasted just three balls. He struck a boundary off Shah’s first ball before he mistimed another big drive off the fast bowler and was caught in the covers.

Drop-in pitches with variable bounce at the purpose-built 34,000 capacity stadium have been in focus since the tournament began, giving little respite to the batters so far in a cricket format that is really designed for high scoring.

Scotland gets second win

Brandon McMullen hit an unbeaten 61 runs from 31 balls as Scotland beat Oman by seven wickets with 41 deliveries to spare later Sunday at North Sound, Antigua, for its second win in Group B.

Oman chose to bat first and scored 150-7 with Pratik Athavale (54) and Ayaan Khan (41 not out) dominating the innings.

Scotland reached 153-3 in 13.1 overs with opener George Munsey scoring a 20-ball 41 with four sixes.

Scotland, which got a point from its washed-out opener against England, also had a win over Namibia and tops the group with five points. Defending champion England has one point — from the washout — after its weekend loss to Australia.

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AP cricket: https://apnews.com/hub/cricket

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