Despite losing the toss, England batters wreaked havoc on Pakistan bowling attack
LAHORE: England cruised to a comprehensive 67 runs victory in the final game to return triumphant in the seven-match T20 International series 4-3 here at the Gaddafi Stadium on Sunday night.
Both the teams were at par with three matches wins and the final battle was a series decider in which the visiting side kept an upper hand throughout the entire proceeding. As England dominated with the bat as well as the ball, Pakistan remained a disappointment in its fielding with dropped catches, in bowling for their hammering and then in batting for its failure under pressure. This is the team that failed to win the Asia Cup is heading to Australia with a dream to win the T20 World Cup.
English batters Dawid Malan and Harry Brook slapped Pakistan with a daunting task to achieve as England hovered to 209 for three. The visitors only allowed Pakistan get only 142 for eight. Everything went into disarray in an instant for Pakistan with the early wickets of Captain Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan in the first two overs. Pakistan openers’ loss in this match also exposed the middle order preparation for the upcoming T20 World Cup.
When runs started to come by, despair further developed for the home side with the fall of Iftikhar Ahmed’s wicket at his personal 19 and team’s 33. Though he was dropped at eight runs by David Willey on his own bowling, Iftikhar failed to live another life longer as the English batters did for their dropped catches.
Shan Masood and Khushdil Shah could take the score to 86 to be separated by Adil Rashid with the wicket of latter. Khushdil, who was considered the weakest link in today’s lineup, made 27 runs in 25 balls with a four and a six. He was followed by Asif Ali (7) at team’s 99 for five in the 15th over.
When Mohammad Nawaz joined Shan, the team management announced the hamstring strain to Shadab Khan sustained during fielding that reduced Pakistan batting further. It also put a question mark on his travel with the team to New Zealand for the tri-series and later the World Cup.
Nawaz after an addition of just nine runs became the first victim of Sam Curran in the match at Pakistan’s 125 runs in 17.4 overs. Shan, however, remained the top scorer for Pakistan with 56 runs in 43 balls laced with four fours and a six. It was his second half century of the series and also second of career. Mohammad Wasim made just five runs before falling to Willey, Haris Rauf and Mohammad Husnain remained not out at one and five respectively.
In their collective maneuvering, Chris Woakes had three wickets for 26 runs while David Willey got two for 23 runs and Reece Topley, Adil Rashid and Sam Curran shared one apiece.
Despite losing the toss and being invited to take the guard, England batters wreaked havoc on Pakistan bowling attack. Though they lost early wickets on regular intervals, still they maintained over 10 runs plus average right from the start. Malan and Brook, particularly the former, steered the way for England. Malan in his 13th T20 half century (78 not out) and first of the series hit eight fours and three sixes while Brook with four mighty sixes and a four was the second highest scorer.
Their openers Phil Salt and Alex Hales produced 39 runs by the start of the fifth over before the latter was trapped LBW by Mohammad Husnain for 18. A while later Salt was run out at 20 at the same score. But Dawid Malan and Ben Duckett produced a partnership of 70 runs for the third wicket to further bolster the score and heighten Pakistan’s miseries. Duckett, however, after hitting three fours and a six for his 30, was run out by the 10th over.
Even if, Pakistan had three wickets, Malan kept the score ticking along with his new partner Harry Brook and the two made a fifty runs partnership for the 4th wicket in 34 balls and then 100 runs in 59 balls. Albeit three dropped catches, two by Babar and one by Wasim, Pakistan conceded bundle of runs. Malan who got two lives hammered 78 runs and Brook, dropped once, cracked 46 runs. Pakistan attack agonisingly did not get a clue to separate these two batters who produced unbeaten 108 runs partnership.
With two run outs, the only wicket taker from Pakistan side was Husnain and had the catches were taken, the scenario would have been different for Pakistan.
Earlier, Pakistan made four changes to their final eleven calling back wicketkeeper batsman Muhammad Rizwan, Khushdil Shah, fast bowlers Haris Rauf and Muhammad Hasnain return to the final eleven. They came in place of Mohammad Haris, ailing Haider Ali, Aamir Jamal and Shahnawaz Dhani. England on the other hand had one change in their lineup with Chris Woakes coming in for Richard Gleeson.