England produced a thrilling chase in the second T20I against Pakistan to take a 1-0 lead in the series. The first match was a victim of the weather on Friday at Old Trafford. However, clear skies greeted the teams on Sunday, allowing a complete match.
Pakistan were outstanding with the bat and put the home side under pressure with a formidable score of 195 from their 20 overs. Babar Azam scored a fine half-century to lead the way for the Green Army. The platform allowed Mohammad Hafeez license to smash the England bowlers around the park. He notched five boundaries and four sixes in his innings of 69, setting up a tough chase for the hosts.
England responded through Jonny Bairstow at the top of the order, hitting a brisk 44. Shadab Khan threatened to derail the Three Lions’ innings with two wickets in two balls to dismiss Bairstow and Tom Banton. Captain Eoin Morgan and Dawid Malan steadied the ship and kept England up with the required run rate.
Morgan was the tone-setter with an innings of 66. Malan saw his team over the line, scoring a half-century of his own to secure the five-wicket win. Pakistan were dealt a blow during England’s chase when Mohammad Amir suffered a hamstring injury that could be a telling factor in the rest of the series.
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No matter who lines up for England in white-ball cricket, they always seem to have an answer. There were able to chase down the highest total against Pakistan in T20 cricket without Jason Roy, Joe Root, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes. All four of those players would certainly land in a World XI.
It’s testament to the quality of their batting ranks that players of the ilk of Malan and Banton are ready to slot into the line-up. Many others are pushing them for their spots in the team. England’s white-ball squad are in a very strong place at the moment for the depth of batsmen available. Khan has posed some problems with his leg-spin, taking three wickets in the contest.
The 21-year-old was also on point in the first match before the rain halted the game. He provides a warning to England that they’re not invincible against spin, particularly in the powerplay when pace is taken off the ball. If the next World T20 is played in India – England will have to wary of those tactics. Pakistan may yet choose to deploy Khan in the early overs to disrupt the Three Lions’ rhythm.
England did get away with a mediocre day with the ball. Outside of Adil Rashid and Lewis Gregory, the rest of the attack struggled. With Chris Woakes and Jofra Archer rested, the pace attack is not putting forward a convincing case to remain in their spots. Moeen Ali looks a lost figure in the middle after bowling only one over and being dismissed for one. England will have concerns over his performances, especially with tours of the sub-continent on the horizon in 2021.
Azam will have been pleased with his performance and that of Hafeez at number three. The two batsmen were excellent at the crease, but were unable to press the Green Army over the 200-run mark. It would have made all the difference as they were about five runs short of putting the home side under pressure on a good batting wicket.
The players arriving late in the innings were not able to get up to speed, which is often the case in T20. The defeat will be a learning tool for Pakistan with the bat to ensure they cash in next time around. There was plenty of encouragement from their striking and none of the England bowlers seemed to trouble them other than Rashid. As a result, they’ll take confidence into the final game.
Their bowlers need to improve and perhaps the guile of Wahab Riaz could be utilised. Amir will unlikely recover and it will probably be a like-for-like replacement. Haris Rauf impressed alongside Khan with the ball. The right-arm pacemen claimed figures of 2-34 in his four overs and could be used earlier in the innings with Khan. Shaheen Afridi could do with a break as he was dispatched to all parts of the ground by the England batsmen. Imad Wasim and Iftikhar Ahmed also struggled to contain the Three Lions. It will take a complete performance to level the series, therefore Pakistan cannot afford to be carrying anyone on Tuesday.
The weather forecast is clear for Tuesday at Old Trafford. It will be a cloudy day, but rain is not forecast as the British summer nears its end. The pitch in the second match was a cracker for the batsmen and it will be used again to wrap up the series. Expect a high-scoring affair.
England were excellent chasing down 196 and are playing excellent cricket. Their side has a lot of strength in their batting ranks, which is covering for their lack of experience with the ball. With matches coming against Australia later in the week, Morgan will want his team at their best. They should have the quality to once again overcome Pakistan to secure the series.
England To Beat Pakistan 3rd T20I – 1.50 Betway