DateLine: 3rd June 2019
By Andy Jalil at Trent Bridge
Pakistan hit form in exciting win over England
Chasing a substantial target, England lost an early wicket with Pakistan opening the bowling with spinner Shadab Khan. The ploy worked with the bowler trapping Jason Roy lbw in his second over. England were struggling to consolidate the innings with the second and third wickets falling in a space of 26 runs. Jonny Bairstow hit 32 from 31 before he attempted to steer a ball to third man and only managed to edge behind while Eoin Morgan was beaten by Hafeezís off spin.
England were keeping up well with the run rate but while Pakistan had kept their wickets intact for long periods, England were losing theirs on a more regular basis. When Ben Stokes edged behind on 13 England were four down for 118 from 21.2 overs with the run rate not much different to Pakistanís. But it wasnít until the partnership between Root and Buttler materialised that the threat of defeat to Pakistan became a possibility.
Root had brought up his half century from 47 balls and his hundred from 97 in an innings which showed his wonderful array of strokes. While Buttler played his typically powerful shots, Root was elegant with his shots on either side of the wicket. Neither batsman seemed uncomfortable facing any of the five bowlers used by Pakistan and although Pakistan fielding was impressive for most of the afternoon, both Root and Buttler found the gaps in the field-placing for quick singles and twos.
With Root dismissed, Buttler took England to 288 for six and in the process brought up his century from 75 balls with his ninth four, struck powerfully to long off. But he slashed the next ball from Amir into the hands of Riaz at short third man. Following that England lost the next two on the total of 320 and the ninth fell two runs later.
Earlier, Pakistan innings got off to a blistering start with Imam ul Haq and Fakhar Zaman picking up boundaries practically at will. After eight overs they had 62 on the board with Chris Woakes conceding 32 in his four overs. Imam helped himself to an early six off Woakes over long-off and edged the next ball for four. His partner, after taking a four off Archer took two off consecutive balls off Woakes, the second of which came from a cleverly improvised scoop to fine leg, by the left-hander.
England made a double bowling change with Moeen Ali replacing Woakes and Mark Wood for Jofra Archer. The breakthrough that England urgently needed came with Moeen drawing Zaman forward for Buttler to take the bails off with the batsmanís foot on the line. Zamanís 36 had come from 39 balls and Pakistan were 82 for one. Pakistanís hundred came in the 18th over and eleven runs later, Imam, on 44 from 58, went down the track to hit Moeen deep to extra cover and Woakes brought off a fine catch, running in 20 yards from long-on.
Babar Azam and Mohammad Hafeez combined in an 88-run stand for the third wicket. Along with Hafeez, Babar saw Pakistan to 150 from 161 balls and the fifty of their partnership came from 46 balls. Babar was severe on leg spinner Adil Rashid, taking 14 in one over with two fours and a six which took him to 49 and in the following over he square cut Archer for two to backward point to bring up his 50, scored at a-run-a-ball. Meanwhile Hafeez was fortunate to have been dropped by Roy on 14 off Rashid at mid-off.
Rashidís five overs were costly with 43 runs given away and Moeen was brought back to replace him. With Pakistan just a run short of 200, Moeen struck again for his third wicket. It was a flighted ball to which Babar came down the pitch but Woakes made good ground from long-on and dived to hold the catch. Babur had produced beautiful strokes in his innings of 63 from 66 balls with 4 fours and a six. Hafeez went on piling on the runs along with Sarfaraz and reached his half century from 39 balls, taking Pakistan to 250 from 246 balls.
Pakistan were picking up runs against all six bowlers used by England, Stokes was struck for 13 in an over which saw a beautifully timed drive to the mid-on boundary from Sarfraz. Hafeez raced ahead of his partner taking his score to 83 with an effortless chip for six at mid-wicket off Wood. But a run later his innings of 62 balls with 8 fours and two sixes came to an end with his firm drive being held at long-off.
Paksitan were 279 for four and the 300 came up from 281 balls. There wasnít much to come after Sarfraz skied his shot on 55 from 44 balls and Woakes held him off his own bowling on the total of 319 for six. The two lower order wickets added a further 29.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
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