Pakistan beat England by six runs to go 3-2 up with two matches to play in T20 series


England produced an exasperating batting brain fade under the Lahore lights that left the late heroics of their captain Moeen Ali in vain and the marathon Twenty20 series here running away from them.

Chasing a modest 146 to go 3-2 up in the series, England relinquished their halfway advantage when they were reduced to 31 for three in the power play and although Moeen rallied with a 35-ball 50, keeping hopes flickering until the death, the failings of others simply left him with too much to do.

Loss of composure at the start of the chase, and momentum through the middle against the home spinners, meant that England entered the final over of the match with 15 runs required and Moeen farming the strike.

England fast bowler Mark Wood bagged three wickets in another explosive burst

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Roared on by another vociferous home crowd, Pakistan’s debutant all-rounder Aamer Jamal twice missed his mark – a wide, followed by a delivery which Moeen launched over long-on to reach his second half century of the series, and pare the requirement down to eight runs off three balls – but the rest of his yorkers were unerring in their accuracy.

And so, when Moeen failed to make significant connections with the fourth and fifth, it left David Willey with the forlorn task of hitting a six from the last to tie the scores.

But for the dramatic stumble with the finish line at their mercy last Sunday evening, England would have travelled north with a 3-1 lead.

Yet now they trail with two matches of seven to play, having once again been kept at bay by a Pakistan team driven to a defendable score by Mohammad Rizwan’s runs.

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Much of the damage, however, was self-inflicted as, in a recurring theme of this trip, England lost their openers early and another significant casualty.

David Willey and Sam Curran both took two wickets to help restrict Pakistan to a modest 145

David Willey and Sam Curran both took two wickets to help restrict Pakistan to a modest 145

Alex Hales and Phil Salt were both sucked into aggressive strokes before they’d had time to sum up a tricky, skiddy pitch.

The stock of Ben Duckett has risen exponentially on this trip. Since being recalled last week, the Nottinghamshire left-hander had surged an incredible 1,070 places to 32 in the world batting rankings.

Here, he raced into double figures off his first five balls but then fell into the trap of those before him, mishitting an aerial stroke into waiting Pakistan hands to leave England up against things despite the heavy dew handicapping the home side’s bowlers.

England captain Moeen Ali hit a brilliant half-century but it was not enough to secure victory

England captain Moeen Ali hit a brilliant half-century but it was not enough to secure victory

‘Of all the games so far, this was the most disappointing. You have to see the situation, and the conditions. A 60-70 run partnership would have won the game,’ Moeen said.

England had been given a masterclass in how to conduct a T20 innings by Mohammad Rizwan, who did not re-emerge after falling for 63 from 43 balls after being hit on the backside by a run-out shy, haring to the non-striker’s end.

‘The way he plays, he’s someone that we can learn a lot off. He saw the situation and adapted. He took risks when he needed to but played properly when he needed to as well. I think we can learn a lot from the way he played,’ Moeen said.

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Dawid Malan's resilient innings ended when Iftikhar Ahmed trapped him leg-before for 36

Dawid Malan’s battle ended when Iftikhar Ahmed trapped him leg-before for 36

Crucially, Rizwan was put down at mid-on by a diving Hales – his third dropped catch of the series – while still in single figures. He made pay a team slowly reintegrating its major players ahead of next month’s World Cup.

Spin would later play a huge part in the direction of the match but Pakistan clearly targeted Adil Rashid, who in contrast to his rival spinners gave the ball air.

Both Rizwan and Shadab Khan took advantage to loft the Yorkshireman straight for six and there was punishment from others too for over-pitching in an uncharacteristically expensive display – only once in his previous 80 T20s for England had he conceded more than the 41 runs he leaked here.

Pakistan held their nerve to win by six runs and go 3-2 up in the seven-match T20 series

Pakistan held their nerve to win by six runs and go 3-2 up in the seven-match T20 series

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Rizwan was also the one batter who coped with the fire and brimstone of Mark Wood, whose series figures now read a mightily impressive 8-0-44-6.

With another of England’s returnees Chris Woakes operating from the other end, following another six-months on the sidelines, Wood’s X factor hushed the latest full house of the series after Moeen won the toss.

England went wicketless through the power plays of the three matches Wood has missed here but just as in the third match in Karachi, when they lost four up front, his presence within the attack promoted unease amongst the Pakistani batting.

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Once again, he profited by slamming the ball into the surface from the off, a tactic that resulted in Babar Azam hauling to the midwicket boundary in his first over, and Haider Ali miscuing in his second. He later castled Asif Ali with a yorker during another intense four overs of 90-mile-hour-plus pace.

In contrast, England lost their way when pace was taken off – Dawid Malan and Harry Brook both pinned leg before by balls that slid off the surface, just as they looked to realign the chase.

It meant the rate had climbed above 12 when Moeen launched the first of his four sixes in the 17th over.

And Jamal had the task of defending 15 off the last.

‘I felt like two big hits and we were in. Unfortunately, I only managed one. It was a very good last over and you can’t take that away from him,’ said Moeen.

Unfortunately, the damage had been done at the other end of the innings.

Superb death bowling from debutant Aamer Jamal saw England fall short on 139-7

Superb death bowling from debutant Aamer Jamal saw England fall short on 139-7



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