England v Pakistan 3rd T20I: Pakistan win thriller by 5 runs
Pakistan won a thrilling contest, in the 3rd and final T20I of the series, to level the series 1-1 against England, at the Emirates Old Trafford, tonight.
England 185 - 8
Pakistan 190 - 4
Result - Pakistan win by 5 runs
On a wicket described as ‘batting paradise’ by former Pakistan captain, Wasim Akram, it was a great shame there was no crowd present at the Emirates, Old Trafford, to witness bat dominating the ball, in a typical high scoring T20. A narrow 5-run win for the tourists enabled them to square the series at 1-1 and finish a difficult tour amidst covid-19, on a high note.
After a successful run chase in the previous T20, Eoin Morgan chose to bowl once again in the third match of the series. It was 6pm start in a brilliant sunshine, Pakistan making three changes from their line-up and giving Haider Ali, his first international cap. Injured Mohammed Amir was replaced with Wahab Riaz and Mohammed Rizwan made way for Sarfraz Ahmed. No one could argue with the final eleven.
The 19-year old Haider walked in the second over, replacing Fakhar Zaman, who was bowled off Moeen Ali’s first ball. He lofted the same bowler for a six over long-on and has a look of a quality right-handed batsman. On the other side, skipper Babar Azam, took three boundaries in Saqib Mahmood’s over but his dismissal was poor, for he played back to a delivery from Tom Curran that skidded through.
With Haider continuing with his positive intent, Pakistan was well placed with 48-2 in the first six overs of powerplay. English bowlers perhaps had taken heed of the advice from their T20 bowling coach Azhar Mahmood, former Pakistan all-rounder, and bowled very few slower balls. A talent nurtured by Peshawar Zalmi in the last two seasons of PSL, Haider hit a 92-meter six in the wide mid-wicket area, not to dissimilar to the youthful Inzamam-ul-Haq of the early 1990s. Haider and his new partner Mohammed Hafeez, twenty years senior to him and also looking in good touch, brought up 50 off 32 balls for the 3rd wicket and followed it up with two slog-sweep sixes off Adil Rashid to bring up Pakistan’s 100 in 10.5 overs.
Haider, only faced 28 balls to become the first Pakistan batsman to score a fifty on T20 debut, with 5 fours and 2 sixes already. Someone made for white ball cricket. Hafeez had gone the aerial route on four occasion in his powerful fifty of 31 balls. Haider departed in the 15th over, bowled by a perfect yorker from Chris Jordan, for 54 off 33 balls, having added 100 runs with Hafeez. Pakistan was restricted to 56 runs in last five slog overs due to Jordan’s smart variation as a T20 specialist. His four overs were worth only 29 runs for Pakistan with nine dot balls. Hafeez’s unbeaten 86 (52balls, 4 fours, 6 sixes) is the highest T20I score by a Pakistan batsman against England, in the final total of 190-4.
In their chase, England lost Johnny Bairstow to a peach of a delivery from Shaheen Afridi in the first over and left-arm spinner Imad Wasim, after conceding five boundaries in the first two overs, had the dangerous Dawid Malan caught leaping, inches from the boundary by Fakhar, positioned at wide mid-wicket. A fantastic effort. Tom Banton was least bothered by the fall of wickets and in England’s 54-2 in the first powerplay, he had contributed an unbeaten 42 off 25 balls with eight boundaries. Babar and wicket-keeper Sarfraz combined to run out Morgan, a key wicket for Pakistan and in the following over England were reduced to 69-4 in the 8th over with Banton trapped leg before by Haris Rauf.
At the half way of their innings, England 86-4 were behind the clock, still requiring 105 off 60 balls. Moeen and Sam Billings were not going to go down without a fight and kept their side in the game. Facing Shaheen, Moeen hit a four and followed it up with an effortless six over long-off in the 14th over and it was game on. Billings’ dismissal came at the right point for the bowling side, when the batsman top-edged a pull to third man off Wahab.
England 129-5 after 10 overs required 62 off the last 5 overs and Moeen hit two straight sixes and one over mid-wicket off Shadab’s over that went for 20 runs. Could this prove a turning point? Moeen fifty only needed 25 balls and with Gregory taking two consecutive fours off Haris, now the target was 30 off the last 3 overs. Moeen kept finding the gap with ease to hurt Pakistan and he also needed to keep the strike. His dismissal, having taken 61 off 33 balls, in the penultimate over bowled by Wahab, which also included a run out of Chris Jordan, was worth three runs leaving England 17 of the last over, which proved beyond them.
England - Jonny Bairstow(wk), Tom Banton, Dawid Malan, Eoin Morgan(c), Moeen Ali, Sam Billings, Lewis Gregory, Chris Jordan, Tom Curran, Adil Rashid, Saqib Mahmood
Pakistan - Babar Azam(c), Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Sarfaraz Ahmed(wk), Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Wahab Riaz, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf
Start Time: 18:00
Toss: England won the toss and decided to field
Venue: Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester
Officials: Michael Burns, David Millns, Alexander Wharf, Martin Saggers, Wayne Noon
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