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Fakhar hits ton as Pakistan fall short in big run-chase

Sports

May 12, 2019

Ag Agencies

KARACHI: Fakhar Zaman hit a stunning 138 to bring Pakistan agonisingly close to an unlikely victory in a high-scoring One-day International in Southampton on Saturday.

His explosive ton together with fifties from Babar Azam and Asif Ali weren’t enough as England went 1-0 up in the five-match series with a 12-run win on what was batting paradise at the Ageas Bowl.

However, Pakistan could take several positives from what was their highest total in a run-chase — 371-7.

Once a seemingly toothless Pakistan attack allowed England to accumulate a mammoth 373-3 with a help of a blinder from Jos Buttler, not even the most ardent of their fans must have thought that the tourists had any real chance of winning the second ODI.

But the big-hitting Fakhar revived memories of the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy final in which he hit a match-winning hundred against India as the left-handed opener smashed the English attack to all corners of the park. He played the lead role in a 92-run opening partnership with Imam-ul-Haq (35 from 44 balls) and then put on 135 runs for the second wicket with Babar Zaman (51 from 52 balls).

At one stage Pakistan were strongly placed at 227-2 from 32.5 overs with Fakhar and Babar looking in complete control. A morale-boosting win head of the ICC World Cup seemed within their grasp.

But a stroke of bad luck resulted in Fakhar’s dismissal. Trying to hit a wide one from Chris Woakes, Fakhar nicked the ball off the toe end of his bat. It didn’t seem out as even Buttler who collected the ball behind the stumps appealed but England opted for a review and Fakhar was back in the dressing room. His 138 from 106 balls – the highest individual score by a Pakistani against England in an ODI – included four sixes and 12 fours.

Babar’s also was a soft dismissal and that brought Asif Ali and Harris Sohail to the crease. The in-form Harris (14) fell cheaply but Asif gave Pakistan hope with a 36-ball 51 that included four sixes and two fours. Skipper Sarfraz Ahmed tried but his unbeaten 41 from 32 balls wasn’t enough.

Earlier, Buttler´s stunning 50-ball century took England to 373 for three. His 110 not out featured nine sixes, including a straight drive off Hasan Ali that took him to three figures.

Such was his command that Buttler´s second fifty took him a mere 18 balls, with new father Buttler making a ´rocking the baby´ gesture to celebrate bringing up a century that also included four fours.

An extraordinary ´inside out´ six off Hasan over long-off was arguably the pick of his shots, although a pull off Shaheen Afridi that cleared the rope and took him into the 90s was almost as impressive.

Together with England captain Eoin Morgan (71 not out) he shared an unbroken partnership of 162.

It was an encouraging display by the World Cup hosts just a few weeks from the start of the tournament and further proof of their progress as an ODI side.

Saturday´s total was the 35th time since their miserable first-round exit at the 2015 World Cup that England, now top of the ODI rankings, had posted a total in excess of 300 -- a feat they had achieved only 34 times in total prior to that tournament.

A Pakistan attack missing the ill Mohammad Amir took a pounding, with Hasan conceding 81 runs from his maximum 10 overs and Afridi 80.

Earlier, Jason Roy (87) and Jonny Bairstow (51) laid a platform for the innings with an opening stand of 115 after Morgan won the toss.

Roy, fit following back trouble that kept him out of Wednesday´s washed out opener of a five-match series at his Oval home ground, hit medium-pacer Faheem Ashraf for two huge sixes -- a drive over long-on followed by an extravagant uppercut over extra-cover.

But the return of left-arm quick Afridi for a second spell saw Pakistan make the breakthrough.

Bairstow pulled him for a boundary to complete a 44-ball fifty. But the next ball saw Bairstow fail to pull down and a leaping Fakhar Zaman at deep backward square leg held a good catch at the second attempt.

Following a brief rain break, Roy fell in sight of what would have been his eighth ODI hundred when he miscued a pull off Hasan to mid-on.

Test captain Joe Root made 40 before he holed out, his exit paving the way for Buttler´s blistering innings.

Score Board

Pakistan won toss

England

J J Roy c Imad b Hasan 87

J M Bairstow c Fakhar b Shaheen 51

J E Root c Haris b Yasir 40

*E J G Morgan not out 71

†J C Buttler not out 110

Extras (b 1, lb 3, w 10) 14

Total (3 wickets; 50 overs) 373

Did not bat: B A Stokes, M M Ali, D J Willey, A U Rashid, C R Woakes, L E Plunkett

Fall: 1-115, 2-177, 3-211

Bowling: Shaheen 10-0-80-1 (w 1); Faheem 10-0-69-0 (w 2); Imad 10-0-63-0 (w 5); Hasan 10-1-81-1 (w 2); Yasir 7-0-60-1; Haris 3-0-16-0

Pakistan

Imam-ul-Haq c & b Ali 3

Fakhar Zaman c Buttler b Woakes 138

Babar Azam c & b Rashid 51

Asif Ali c Stokes b Willey 51

Haris Sohail c Bairstow b Plunkett 14

*†Sarfaraz Ahmed not out 41

Imad Wasim c Buttler b Willey 8

Faheem Ashraf c Stokes b Plunkett 3

Hasan Ali not out 4

Extras (b 2, lb 4, w 9) 15

Total (7 wickets; 50 overs) 361

Did not bat: Shaheen Shah Afridi, Yasir Shah

Fall: 1-92, 2-227, 3-233, 4-274, 5-323, 6-345, 7-353

Bowling: Woakes 9-0-72-1 (w 2); Willey 10-0-57-2 (w 2); Ali 10-0-66-1 (w 1); Plunkett 9-0-64-2 (w 2); Rashid 10-0-81-1 (w 2); Stokes 2-0-15-0

Result: England won by 12 runs

Man of the Match: Jos Buttler (England)

Umpires: Tim Robinson (England) and Chris Gaffaney (New Zealand). TV umpire: Paul Reiffel (Australia). Match referee: Sir Richie Richardson (West Indies)

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