July 29, 2021

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England win pulsating series decider against Pakistan

Pakistan 154-6 (20 overs): Rizwan 76* (57); Rashid 4-35
England 155-7 (19.4 overs): Roy 64 (36), Hafeez 3-28
England won by three wickets

England overcame an almighty wobble to defeat Pakistan in a pulsating final Twenty20 at Old Trafford and win the series 2-1.

Chasing 155 on a dry, turning pitch, England needed 61 from nine overs with eight wickets in hand after Jason Roy’s 64.

However, with Pakistan’s spinners applying a vice-like grip and Dawid Malan struggling, the equation went out to 39 from four, only for captain Eoin Morgan to regain control.

In a dramatic penultimate over, Malan was bowled by Mohammad Hafeez, only for Liam Livingstone to hit his first ball for six then be caught off his next, leaving six required in the final over.

And although Morgan holed out with four still needed, Chris Jordan got the home side over the line with two balls to spare.

England’s own spinners were earlier at the fore, restricting Pakistan to 154-6. Mohammad Rizwan batted through the innings for 76 not out, but the tourists were shackled by Adil Rashid’s 4-35.

The hosts end their white-ball summer with only one defeat from 12 matches against Pakistan and Sri Lanka, now moving on to a five-Test series with India, which begins on 4 August.

Before then, English cricket takes a step into the unknown with the inaugural season of The Hundred, which starts on Wednesday with the opening match of the women’s competition.

Oval Invincibles versus Manchester Originals begins at 18:30 BST and is live on BBC Two.

England come through dramatic examination

This was ideal preparation for the T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates and Oman in October.

Though the deafening atmosphere is likely to be very different to what England will experience at that tournament, to win a high-stakes game by completing a tense chase on a spinning pitch against a skilful attack is an examination passed.

From a position where they were coasting, England were plunged into tension by some questionable strokes and the nous of the Pakistan bowlers.

Captain Morgan looked to have the game won when he flicked two sixes off Hasan Ali’s 17th over, only for vastly experienced off-spinner Hafeez to drag Pakistan back into it.

Malan was bowled trying to make room, rising star Livingstone heaved his first ball over mid-wicket, then sliced to short third man.

Morgan skied a missed chance from the first ball of Hasan’s last over and ran two, then was caught, only for the nerveless Jordan to take the required four runs from the next two deliveries.

Spinners hold Pakistan again

England’s 45-run win in the second match at Headingley was partly engineered by the spinners and they repeated the dose at Old Trafford.

Just like in Leeds, England sent down 11 overs of spin, with Livingstone filling the role of Matt Parkinson, who was left out on his home ground.

They were again led by the dependable Rashid, who returned his best figures in a T20 international, while off-spinner Moeen Ali conceded only 19 runs from his four overs.

Rizwan swiped the majority of his runs through the leg side, but after he added 40 in the first five overs with opening partner Babar Azam, Pakistan slowed after Babar was stumped off a delightful Rashid googly.

At one stage, England went through a 12-over period bowling 11 of spin, with Pakistan managing 85 runs for the loss of five wickets.

Hasan gave some impetus at the death when England returned to pace, taking Pakistan to a total that was almost enough.

England falter after Roy dazzles

The conditions and a Pakistan team full of spin options always had the potential to give England problems in the chase.

Still, they were cruising as Roy swatted on the leg side and crashed through point for his highest score in a T20 international since February last year.

His dismissal, miscuing leg-spinner Usman Qadir to long-off was followed by Jonny Bairstow needlessly being caught at cover off slow left-armer Imad Wasim and Moeen being bowled hacking at Hafeez.

Malan scratched around, but he at least provided a foil for Morgan, whose 21 from just 12 balls ensured England emerged from the chaos.

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