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England beats Pakistan in the Only T20 of the Pre-World Cup tour
Facing the hosts where they had their 2017 semifinal encounter in the only T20I of the series, but Pakistan failed to topple them this time around. The white ball captain, Eoin Morgan, was the hero for the hosts as he gained form after a bit of a slump, smashing the ball to all parts of the ground. Ben Duckett, Ben Foakes and the West Indian born Jofra Archer made their T20I debuts for England while Muhammad Hasnain and Imam ul Haq wore the green for Pakistan for the first time in the shortest format.
Pakistan: 173-6 [ Babar 65(42), Haris 50(36), Imad 18*(13), Faheem 17(10) ], [ Archer 2-29(4), Curran 1-28(4), Jordan 1-41(4) ]
England: 175-3 [ Morgan 57(29), Root 57(42), Vince, 36(27), Denly 20(12) ], [ Imad 1-24(4), Shaheen 1-35(4), Hasan 1-42(4) ]
Winning the toss, Pakistan decided to have a go with the bat themselves. Despite having the ODI opening pair in the squad, Pakistan stuck with the Babar-Fakhar combination which didn’t last for long though. They lost both Fakhar and Imam for 7 a piece inside the first 6 overs. Babar, along with Haris Sohail, put Pakistan in the driver’s seat in the next 10 overs with a hundred run stand for the 3rd wicket in quick time.
The debutant Archer got a double breakthrough in the 16th over, getting both set batsmen; Haris caught in the deep and then running Babar out two balls later. Owing to this, Pakistan may have fallen 10-15 runs short of what they may have been looking at as the inning progressed. Although England looked as if they may contain Pakistan even more than that, a bit of a last-minute surge from Imad and Faheem got them to 173.
Coming out to chase, England had a clear plan and were pretty much on point with their execution of it. They went hard from one end and had stability at the other throughout. Even though Shaheen drew first blood in the third over, Vince and Root kept scoring at a decent rate while giving practically no opportunity to Pakistan. Vince was pretty unlucky to go caught down the leg side to Imad to a ball he felt he hadn’t hit but lack of evidence suggesting otherwise ruled against him.
The Irish born captain stepped in next and right from the word go looked to be in business. He smashed it all around the ground going at a strike rate of around 200 throughout his inning. Root provided him support at the other end, not giving his wicket and edging England closer to the target. His wicket was taken by Hassan Ali caught behind the stumps by the Pakistani captain but perhaps too little too late in the 16th over when England were just 42 runs behind.
Denly walked in and even though Pakistan, looking for a brief moment that they may be in this, lent him enough room to do the job well enough for his captain to finish it off in the last over with a six straight down the ground. The young Hasnain, on debut, bowled pretty decently and was the most economical of the Pakistani pacers but remained wicketless.
Things to Take Out
It was a pretty big win for the English side, defeating the number 1 ranked T20 side in the word by a decent margin, taking a bit of momentum into the ODI series ahead of the world cup. It was a welcome sight for every English fan as captain, Morgan, looked to have gained back form after a slight bit of a drought which would be handy as they head into the world cup. They find themselves having decent backup and will look to finalize their combination in the ODI series.
Pakistan on the other hand wouldn’t take this loss to heart as they too will look to experiment in the ODI series. They will however want to improve on their fielding efforts as they looked pretty ordinary on the field which in uncharacteristic of Pakistan from what we’ve seen in the last couple of years. With a fair bit of competition in the bench, they wouldn’t be too worried about the lack of a clear choice as they try get the most effective 11 right as they head into the grandest stage.
Shawaz Lodhi is a freelance writer and a sports freak.