England overcome Afridi blast to wrap up series
England 172-8 (Vince 38) beat
Pakistan 169-8 (Shehzad 28) by three runs
Second Twenty20 International, Dubai
England snatched a three-run victory against Pakistan in the second Twenty20 International in Dubai by overcoming a terrific all-round display from Shahid Afridi to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
England won the toss and opted to bat first. Jos Buttler was leading the side as Eoin Morgan was rested while Chris Jordan, Moeen Ali and Reece Topley made way for Chris Woakes, Joe Root and David Willey.
Meanwhile Pakistan strengthened their batting with the inclusion of Shoaib Malik and Ahmed Shehzad.
Jason Roy (29) hit a couple of sixes within the first four overs to get England off to a flying start.
The introduction of Afridi (3-15) brought a wicket right away as Alex Hales (11) was caught plumb in front and by the end of the powerplay phase, England reached 45 for one.
Attempting to up the ante even further, Roy attempted a slog sweep against Afridi but a bottom edge was snared by the keeper on his third attempt.
Root (20) and James Vince (38) took England to 68 for two at the half-way mark.
After hitting a six, Root tried to repeat the shot but holed out to mid-wicket where Afridi timed his jump to perfection to complete the catch.
Vince was dropped by Sohail Tanvir (1-43) at long on and the ball deflected over the ropes for a six. Vince followed it up with a six and a couple of fours in the next over.
Once again, Afridi came to Pakistan’s rescue as he induced a top edge off Vince, which was caught at square leg. England were 109 for four at that stage.
Buttler (33) hit a couple of sixes as 16 runs came from the 16th over for England. A juggling catch at the boundary rope from Umar Akmal saw the end of Sam Billings (11).
A brilliant 22-ball cameo from Buttler ended when he edged a delivery from Tanvir to the keeper.
Despite losing Liam Plunkett (1) and Willey (4) in the 19th over, England went on to score 14 runs from the final over as the total swelled to 172 for eight with 58 runs coming in the last five overs.
Afridi was the best bowler on display with three wickets to his name and an economy of 3.75.
The Pakistan openers Rafatullah Mohmand (23) and Shehzad (28) provided the perfect start as they put on a 51-run opening stand in five overs.
But Stephen Parry (1-33) lured Shehzad with a flighted delivery only to have him stumped.
Two tight overs after the powerplay built the pressure on Pakistan as the required-run-rate kept climbing.
The result came in the ninth over when Mohmand ventured down the track but missed the ball while Buttler whipped off the bails in a flash.
Despite getting off to a good start, Mohammad Hafeez (25) failed to get a move on as he popped a leading edge to mid-off off Plunkett (3-33).
A lovely wrong’un from Adil Rashid (2-18) flummoxed Sohaib Maqsood (2) who was bowled through his defences.
Akmal (3) was at the receiving end of a marginal decision after being adjudged caught behind in the 15th over. At that stage, Pakistan needed 64 runs from 30 balls.
Plunkett finished his spell with the wicket of Malik (26) in his last over. Pakistan received a shot in the arm with three sixes from Afridi in the 18th over.
However, the Pakistan T20I captain fell in the same over, caught at third man off Woakes (2-40).
36 runs came from the 18th and 19th overs with the equation reduced to 11 runs needed from the final six balls.
Sarfraz Ahmed (19) tried to get ahead of the equation with a sweep shot, only to be castled by Woakes in the first delivery of the over.
Eventually Pakistan fell short of the target by just four runs as England sealed a thriller to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series.
Plunkett picked three wickets while Woakes and Rashid took two each. Plunkett was also named the man of the match for his three-wicket haul.
The final game of the series will be played on 30th November in Sharjah.
© Cricket World 2015