Aaron Jones powers the USA to stunning win over Canada in the tournament opener

Jones emerged as USA’s hero in their first-ever World Cup game. (Source: X.com)

In their first-ever match at an ICC World Cup, co-hosts USA made a stunning debut as vice-captain Aaron Jones spearheaded a dominant seven-wicket victory over Canada in the T20 World Cup. Jones’ explosive 94 off just 40 balls helped the USA chase down Canada’s total of 194 for five with 14 balls to spare.

Canada, after being put in to bat first, started strongly with openers Aaron Johnson and Navneet Dhaliwal. Johnson showcased his attacking prowess, capitalising on the fielding restrictions, and the pair put up 43 runs before Harmeet Singh claimed the first wicket of the tournament, dismissing Johnson for 23 in the last over of the powerplay.

Pargat Singh then joined Dhaliwal at the crease, and the scoreboard read 50/1 at the end of the powerplay. However, Pargat’s stay was brief as he was run out for five in the eighth over. Nicholas Kirton came in at number four and, together with Dhaliwal, built a solid partnership, frustrating the USA bowlers. Dhaliwal reached his fifty off 36 balls.

Corey Anderson was introduced into the attack in the 15th over and made an immediate impact by removing Dhaliwal for 61, ending a crucial 62-run stand. Shreyas Movva then joined Kirton, who quickly brought up his fifty off just 28 balls before falling for 51. Canada lost momentum in the death overs, but Movva’s brisk 32* off 16 balls helped them finish at 194/5 in their allotted 20 overs.

Chasing 195 was a daunting task for the USA, and their pursuit began poorly as Kaleem Sana trapped Steven Taylor LBW for a duck in the first over. Skipper Monank Patel tried to accelerate the scoring, but the Canadian seamers exploited early movement to maintain tight control, causing the required run rate to soar.

Then Aaron Jones! Nikhil Dutta’s introduction saw Jones go on the offensive against the spinner, shifting into high gear. Adopting a “see ball, hit ball” approach, Jones relentlessly attacked the bowlers, sending the ball frequently over the boundary. While Jones was undoubtedly the standout performer, Andries Gous also impressed with a crucial 65 off 46 balls.

Gous struck seven fours and three sixes, stabilising the innings after the USA was reduced to 42 for 2. Together, Jones and Gous forged a match-winning 131-run partnership, the highest for the USA in T20Is, leading to their record successful chase in the format. Fittingly, Jones sealed the victory with a pair of sixes, capping off a remarkable innings.