Canada v Pakistan, T20 Canada, King City October 10, 2008

Butt and Shoaib star in Pakistan win

Cricinfo staff
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Pakistan 137 for 7 (Butt 74, Baidwan 3-15, Bhatti 3-23) beat Canada 102 for 9 (Cheema 35, Shoaib 2-11) by 35 runs
Scorecard

Canada fought hard in the field, but were blown away when they batted as Pakistan cranked themselves into life after a sluggish start. Salman Butt provided more than half Pakistan's moderate total with 74 off 56 balls and for a while Canada presented a challenge in the chase, but in the end they subsided to 102 for 9.

That it was ever really a contest is credit to Canada and a comment on Pakistan's recent lack of action. The visitors struggled for momentum on a tricky pitch, however Butt bided his time and gave the innings a late kick.

Shoaib Akhtar, playing his first international since last December, marked his return with two early wickets - double the tally he managed in two Championship matches for Surrey. He struck in his first over when he removed Abdool Samad and soon added Mohammad Iqbal as he chopped into his stumps. Shoaib didn't operate at express pace, but stretched himself after local star, Rizwan Cheema, pulled him for a flat six.

Canada didn't immediately cave in after Shoaib's strikes with Cheema and Manoj David adding 52 for the third wicket. That, though, was as good as it got for Canada and once David lobbed a leading edge to cover off Umar Gul the collapse set in. The midde order struggled to score off the spinners and Shahid Afridi picked up Asif Mulla when he swept to square leg.

Sohail Tanvir, who made his name in Twenty20, firstly at the world event in South Africa then in the IPL, chipped in with two strikes late on but the match was already over.

The crowd peaked during the day's second game, although that isn't saying much as estimates put the best figure at about 1400, in a ground that can now hold 10,000. The organisers are banking on Pakistan drawing in the crowds, but Canada might expect some local support too although those who did turn up provided enthusiastic flag-waving.

The home side were far from disgraced for the first half of the game as they held the innings under control. After 10 overs Pakistan were barely scoring at a run-a-ball and shortly afterwards captain Shoaib Malik was bowled, giving himself room, leaving Pakistan 63 for 3.

Runs were hard to come by after a brisk start from Butt. Shoaib Khan, making his debut, fell in the fourth over to Umar Bhatti and Younis Khan couldn't find the boundary in his 19-ball effort. Younis eventually pulled a catch to deep square-leg as Canada's tight bowling brought rewards.

With the innings stuttering, Butt took over and was the commanding presence in a fourth-wicket stand of 64 in seven overs with Misbah-ul-Haq. As the overs started running out Butt began to play his shots, passing fifty off 48 balls with a six off Balaji Rao and taking 17 off an over from Sunil Dhaniram. It gave Pakistan the breathing space they needed as they found their feet and shook off the jetlag. Tougher challenges await.