England win only T20I against Pakistan by 7 wickets

Pakistan's Faheem Ashraf looks dejected after a dropped catch
©Reuters
 
England's Eoin Morgan celebrates winning the match
England's Eoin Morgan celebrates winning the match
 

England skipper Eoin Morgan’s flat batted six over long-off lead England to a seven wicket win with four balls to spare at Cardiff.

 Match Summary

England 175 - 3

Pakistan 173 - 6

Result - England won by 7 wickets

Scorecard

His unbeaten 57 off 29 balls with 5 fours and 3 sixes in a one-off T20 against Pakistan was the difference between the two sides, in a close contest. Prior to Morgan, Joe Root hit 47 off 42 balls with some deft placing of the ball and keeping Pakistan bowlers and fielders under pressure as 52 runs were required in the last 5 overs (30 balls). The bank holiday crowd had their money’s worth for sure.

Pakistan, opting to bat first, needed a score close to the 200 mark on a ground with shorter straight boundaries. In the powerplay consisting of six overs, they was wobbling at 38-2. The right-left combination of Babar Azam and Haris Sohail, settled quickly to add 103 runs for the 3rd wicket in less than 11 overs. Babar, neat and orthodox in his pleasant style justified his rating No.1 T20 batsman in the world, by timing the ball sweetly on a dry, green but slow wicket.

Two pulled sixes off Joe Denly’s half trackers, brought Pakistan’s 100 in 12.1 overs and Babar’s own fifty off 31 balls and he watched his partner Haris who was using the angles very well, reached the same target off 34 balls. With the score climbing to 133-2 off 15 overs, Pakistan ought to have reached 200. The dismissal of Haris (caught on the mid-wicket fence) and Babar (run out) in the 16th over bowled by Jofra Archer, who offered pace and movement on his T20I debut. It brought England back in the hunt and despite 16 coming off the last over the final total could not go beyond 173-6.

Fancy playing a T20 with 50-over World Cup, only weeks away but the crowd – a good mix of supporters of both sides – had no complaints by arriving well wrapped up on a cool afternoon. Now the two sides can focus on the five-match ODI series to finalize their squad and go into the global event with near enough perfect preparation.

Pakistan as the number one side in T20 ICC ranking had some distraction prior to this one-off game with its former captain Shahid Afridi’s hard-hitting biography, Game Changer being released. Pakistan could have done with the all-round brilliance of ‘Boom Boom’ Afridi, for the shortest format was tailor-made for him. As one of the fittest men to represent Pakistan he was a joy to watch with a following all around the world. But he most certainly overstayed in the international arena and failed to live up to the hype. Sadly in the last phase of his career he could not summon up enough energy and commitment to leave a great legacy, particular with not playing any Test cricket and very rarely producing match-winning deeds, with either bat or ball in ODIs. One must admire his ambition to devote his energies to welfare causes through the ‘Shahid Afridi Foundation’.

England - James Vince, Ben Duckett, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan(c), Joe Denly, Ben Foakes(wk), David Willey, Tom Curran, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, Jofra Archer

Pakistan - Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Imam ul-Haq, Sarfaraz Ahmed(c)(wk), Haris Sohail, Asif Ali, Imad Wasim, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Hasnain

 ©Cricket World 2019