Jos Buttler heroics lead England to 3-1 series win
England 355-5 (Buttler 116no) beat
Pakistan 271 (Shoaib Malik 52) by 84 runs
Fourth One-Day International, Dubai
England won the toss and they opted to bat first while fielding an unchanged team as Pakistan brought Ahmed Shehzad in to open the batting in place of Ifthikar Ahmed and Yasir Shah replaced Zafar Gohar.
Alex Hales (22) and Jason Roy (102) gave the team a steady start, scoring 51 for naught in the powerplay phase.
An over later, Hales attempted a pull shot but top edged it to third man off Mohammad Irfan (2-64).
Roy continued to get the scoreboard moving by rotating the strike and hitting the odd boundary. In the 19th over, Roy completed his second fifty of the series, getting there in 64 balls.
A six each from Joe Root (71) and Roy pushed the England total to 124 for one at the half-way mark.
Roy was given a life when a catch was shelled by the fielder at first slip while Root struck a six and a four off Shoaib Malik (0-59) to complete his fifty.
Meanwhile, Roy completed his maiden ODI hundred, taking 113 balls to reach the landmark.
The duo added 140 runs for the second wicket, providing an excellent platform for a perfect finish although the partnership was broken when Roy holed out at long-off trying to hit Yasir Shah (1-57) for a six.
In the next over, Root fell to Azhar Ali (2-26) while attempting a reverse sweep, getting stumped in the process and England were reduced to 201 for three.
A short cameo from Eoin Morgan (14) ended when he tried to venture down the track and the keeper effected a stumping off Azhar.
Buttler began his attack with a six off Azhar and followed it up with three fours off Irfan. In the next couple of overs, Buttler slammed three sixes and as many fours, completing a blazing fifty in the process in 30 deliveries.
Along with James Taylor (13) Buttler added 79 runs from just 6.4 overs. Irfan managed to get the wicket of Taylor when the right-hander found the fielder at long-on.
Buttler continued to display a wide array of shots and struck three sixes in the penultimate over to scale the three-figure mark in just 46 balls, needing just 16 deliveries for his second fifty.
Buttler broke his own record for the fastest ODI hundred by an England batsman before the final over fetched 19 runs as England amassed 355 for five in their 50 overs, 129 of them coming in the final 10 overs.
Azhar and Irfan picked up two wickets each while Shah had one to his name.
Early into the chase, Taylor dropped a tough chance off Ahmed Shehzad (13) in the covers. Azhar (44) struck Chris Woakes (0-46) for a six and a four before David Willey (2-34) got the breakthrough as Shehzad holed out to mid-wicket.
However, Azhar continued to dominate Woakes, hitting him for another six and a four, but was dismissed in the next over by Willey who took a good return catch.
Pakistan raced away to 71 for two in the powerplay phase with Mohammad Hafeez (37) and Babar Azam (51) building a 65-run stand for the third wicket, scoring at more than six runs an over.
Hafeez was handed a reprieve when Hales shelled a catch at deep mid-wicket but in the 19th over, Hafeez was run out, trying to sneak a quick single and Pakistan were 129 for three at this stage.
Azam brought up his fifty in just 49 balls but was out in the next over, chipping a catch to deep cover off Adil Rashid (2-78).
At the other end, Malik (52) was scoring at an excellent pace although the free fall of wickets continued as Mohammad Rizwan (11) edged a Rashid leg-break to the keeper.
Malik’s fifty came in just 30 balls, after which he attempted a slog over mid-wicket against Reece Topley (1-58) but was caught by Hales.
Sarfraz Ahmed (24) was the next to fall, as he lobbed a catch to mid-on off Rashid which left Pakistan reeling at 249 for seven.
Moeen (3-53) took a simple return catch to dismiss Wahab Riaz (1) and backed it up with the wickets of Shah (5) and Anwar Ali (24) in his next two overs to dismiss Pakistan for 271.
England managed to seize an 84-run victory and completed a 3-1 series win. Moeen and Rashid picked three wickets each. Willey had two scalps while Topley picked up one wicket.
Buttler’s heroics earned him the man of the match and the man of the series awards.
© Cricket World 2015