England beat Pakistan by 3 wickets in the 4th ODI at Trent Bridge

England's Jason Roy celebrates his century
©Reuters
 

England won the toss and decided to bowl against Pakistan in the 4th ODI of the series at Trent Bridge, Nottingham today.

Match Summary

Pakistan 340-7 ( Fakhar Zaman 57, Babar Azam 115, Mohammad Hafeez 59; Tom Curran 4-75, Mark Wood 2-71)

England 341-7 (Jason Roy 114, James Vince 43, Ben Stokes 71*; Imad Wasim 2-62, Mohammad Hasnain 2-80)

Result – England won by 3 wickets

Scorecard

Match Report - Salim Parvez

After being put into bat Pakistan made a competitive 340-7, with Fakhar Zaman 57, Babar Azam 115 and Mohammad Hafeez 59 the mainstays of their batting and Tom Curran 4-75 and Mark Wood 2-71, the main wicket takers for England.

In reply, England scored 341-7, winning by 3 wickets with 3 balls to spare - Jason Roy 114, James Vince 43 and Ben Stokes 71* were the heroes with the bat; and Imad Wasim 2-62 and Mohammad Hasnain 2-80 the main wicket takers for Pakistan.

England go 3-0 up in the five match series with the 5th and final ODI on Sunday at Emerald Headingley, Leeds.

The fourth ODI between the two sides at Trent Bridge went to the wire as Pakistan finally displayed some spark to stay in the contest till the final over. England reached home with three balls to spare for which they owed it to Ben Stokes, who coming in at No.4, paced his unbeaten 71 to near enough perfection under pressure, to secure a tense game for England. It sealed the match and the series for the home side.

Pakistan, batting first in a day-night match, made a good start despite Imam-ul-Haq, taking a nasty blow on his right elbow facing Mark Wood and having to retire hurt. The tourists had been put in by Jos Butler, standing-in for Eion Morgan, serving a one-match suspension due to slow over rate in the two previous games. In order to give everyone a chance to claim a spot in the World Cup squad, England selectors had gone for five changes, all told.

Fakhar Zaman, off the mark with a top-edged six over the wicket-keeper, was second to reach his fifty off 44 balls as his partner Babar Azam, calm orthodox and in great nick had already reached the same off 49 balls and Pakistan 100 arrived in the 17th over and further progressing to 148-1 off 25 overs. England in that position would have pressed on as they do with their explosive top order and aim to go beyond 400, on a ground that has witnessed some astonishing individual and team batting record, including England’s world-record ODI total of 481.

Pakistan, though with both Fakhar and Babar, in good touch were somewhat cautious and instead of going for acceleration at this stage, continued to rely on ones, twos and an odd boundary, with a somewhat old-fashioned view to protect their wickets and launch their assault in the final 10 overs. Mohammad Hafeez, though clearly rusty in his timing, did well for someone returning to international arena after a hand injury in February. He departed after contributing 59 off 55 balls with two fours and 3 sixes.

Babar’s innings drew some criticism for on a flat wicket with him going so well he did not play with the freedom after entering 80s. His hundred no doubt was a class batsmanship and ever so pleasing to the eyes but Pakistan only collected 58 runs in the 10-over phase till the 35th over and certainly missed out to exert more pressure on the opposition that is No.1 in the ICC ODI ranking.

Babar’s innings of 115 (112 balls, 13 fours, 1 six) ended in the 40th over for Shoaib Malik to take over the senior role. Skipper Butler, besides his wicket-keeping role, with a luxury of seven bowlers in his line-up brought on Moin Ali to bowl the 30th over and never during at any stage of Pakistan’s innings looked anything but calm and in control.

Shoaib, having made his debut way back in 1999, has the fourth longest ODI career span behind Sachin Tendulkar, Sanath Jayasuria and Javed Miandad, was making his first appearance in the present series. He timed the ball well and at 37 put his younger team mates to shame through hard running. He remains one of the fittest man in Pakistan squad and his 41 off 26 balls provided the much needed impetus in the death overs.

His bizzare dismissal, smashing his own stumps whilst looking for a square cut through his favoured area at point, in the 47th over, was one of three crucial breakthroughs gained by England in the slog overs. It denied Shoaib, Asif Ali and Imad Wasim, three of Pakistan’s finishers, to have a stronger impact to take the game away from them. Pakistan’s 300 arrived in 45.3 overs and its final total of 340-7 on this particular high-scoring venue, one felt was 20-25 runs below par and so it proved. The touring management though, very rightly, could take a positive from the fact that Pakistan became the first side in the history of ODI to post 340plus totals in three successive games.

The England selectors will find it very hard to leave out Tom Curran from their World Cup squad. His four for 75 runs today showed how he picks up wickets through intelligent change of pace and creating pressure through four dot balls to dismiss the dangerous Fakhar and adding the wickets of Babar, Imad and Hasan Ali, when the charge was on.  

There is no such thing as a quite start these days for England in ODI cricket and with a bit of good fortune, denied Pakistan any breakthrough in the first 10 overs of powerplay. The lack of success with new hard white balls has really put Pakistan on the defensive and it is hoped they fare better against other teams in the World Cup but at present have no answer against England.

South African-born Jason Roy, who has been a revelation at the top of the order for England in the last few years, along with James Vince, provided a platform of 94 run stand in 13.3 overs. It was followed by Roy and Joe Root (36 off 41 balls) milking the Pakistan bowling on its way to a run-chase that did not require extraordinary risks. A second-wicket stand of 107 was broken with the dismissal of Roy who got a big ovation having entertained the crowd with an aggressive 114 off 89 balls with 11 fours and 4 sixes. He had brought up his hundred with a lofted six off Imad Wasim over extra cover and another two coming in one of Junaid Khan’s over.  

Roy’s dismissal seemed to have brought life back into the game as Pakistan through some brilliant catches taken by Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Fakhar and, pulled it back. Buttler and Moin, departed for ducks as England middle order faced its first test of the summer and scoreboard showing 216-5 in the 31st over. Not a bad effort with just four front-line bowlers, which included 19-year old Hasnain, who did not let himself down at all and with bit more support in the field could have ended with better figures than his expensive 2-80 off his 10 overs on the flattest of wickets.

Apart from the timely catches taken, Pakistan fielding had dropped well below the international level with Junaid, in particular letting go couple of fours whilst protecting the boundary and then dropping a catch. He somewhat redeemed himself by catching Joe Denly off his own bowling but by conceding 16 runs in the penultimate over  could not achieve a victory for his country. His 10 overs went for 85 runs but despite all that skipper Sarfraz Ahmed, found time to support and console his senior bowler.

In the last 10 overs England required 83 runs and Sarfraz refused to lose his cool and did everything in his hand, except perhaps allowing too many ‘easy’ singles at the beginning of Stokes-Denly stand, after Pakistan had taken four wickets for 15 runs in just 17 balls. Pakistan captain was left to rue his error of judgement.  Having bowled impressively earlier, Curran, now entered the fray with a bat in his hand. Showing no nerves, the 24-year old  rose to the occasion with knock of 31 off 30 balls with 4 fours and looked an equal partner to Stokes in their match-winning 61-run stand in 7.2 overs, for the 7th wicket, when the pressure was on and game evenly poised.

 England - Jason Roy, James Vince, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler(c)(wk), Moeen Ali, Joe Denly, Adil Rashid, Tom Curran, Mark Wood, Jofra Archer

Pakistan - Imam ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Sarfaraz Ahmed(c)(wk), Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Imad Wasim, Hassan Ali, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Hasnain

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