Hafeez slams century as Pakistan outclass England
Pakistan 217-4 (Hafeez 102no) beat
England 216 (Morgan 76) by six wickets
First One-Day International, Abu Dhabi
Pakistan romped home by six wickets riding on the shoulders of Mohammad Hafeez's unbeaten century as they chased down England's total of 216 in the first One-Day International in Abu Dhabi to take a 1-0 lead in the series.
Opting to bat first after winning the toss, England got off to a terrible start, losing three wickets in the first three overs for 14 runs.
Jason Roy (0) was surprised by Mohammad Irfan (3-35) while Anwar Ali (2-32) sent Alex Hales (10) and Joe Root (0) packing.
Eoin Morgan (76) showed no signs of discomfort on his return to international cricket from the concussion he suffered against Australia at Old Trafford.
He got off the mark with a boundary, crisply timed to the cover point region showing signs of things to come.
Taylor got his first boundary in the seventh over while Morgan smacked two more boundaries in the 10th over to take England to 46 for three at the end of powerplay.
The duo brought up a 50-run stand in 64 deliveries with Morgan contributing most of the runs.
Pakistan's ploy to introduce spin did not work as Morgan reached his fifty in the 17th over, off 50 deliveries. This was his eighth half-century in the last 11 games.
England were looking set for a big total as Morgan and Taylor brought up the 100-run stand from 128 deliveries taking the total to 115 for three at the halfway mark.
The duo stepped on the accelerator with a boundary and a six in the 27th over from Bilal Asif (0-32) and Taylor brought up his fifty with a six down the ground off Shoaib Malik (2-45). It took him 64 deliveries to reach the milestone.
However, Malik brought Pakistan back into the game getting rid of Morgan, who was caught by Sarfraz Ahmed.
Jos Buttler (1) was run out in the same over and that's where Pakistan started to take control of the game.
In the 35th over, Malik struck again to dismiss the other set batsman, Taylor, caught beautifully by Azhar Ali at mid-wicket. England were reeling at 160 for six with 15 more overs left in the innings.
At 181 for eight, England were in danger of being dismissed for under 200 but a 33-run stand for the ninth wicket between Chris Woakes (33) and David Willey (13) ensured they reached 216 in their 50 overs.
Irfan was the pick of Pakistan bowlers with three wickets while Malik and Anwar snared two wickets each.
Needing just over four runs per over to win, Azhar (8) started the innings positively with a couple of boundaries in the first over, only for Reece Topley (3-26) to cut short his innings having Azhar trapped lbw.
Asif (2) became the second victim of Topley when he was rapped on the pads. The appeal for lbw was turned down by the umpire but England made full use of a review to overturn the decision.
There was a huge applause as Younis Khan (9) walked out for the final time in the limited overs format after having announced his retirement earlier in the day.
He scored a couple of boundaries down the ground but failed to carry on as he chipped a simple catch to Adil Rashid (0-60) off Topley again - Pakistan were 41 for three at that stage.
That's when Malik (26) and Hafeez (102 not out) stitched a 70-run partnership to get the innings back on track.
Hafeez got to his fifty with a six to deep mid-wicket off the bowling of Rashid while also bringing up the 50-run stand with Malik as Pakistan reached 92 for three at the end of 20 overs.
The partnership was eventually broken by Moeen Ali (1-32) when Malik lobbed one down the ground to Roy.
But that was the last moment of joy for England in the game as Babar Azam (62 not out) along with Hafeez added an unbeaten 106 to take Pakistan home by six wickets in the 44th over.
Hafeez reached his century off 127 deliveries while Azam reached his half-century in 55 deliveries.
Apart from Topley, Moeen was the only other wicket taker for England in the game as Pakistan took a 1-0 lead in the four-match series.
Hafeez was adjudged the man of the match. The second ODI is scheduled to be played on 13th November again in Abu Dhabi.
© Cricket World 2015