England triumphed in their first tour of Pakistan in 17 years, earning a 67-round win in the Twenty20 series decider.
An entertaining run had tipped this and that to leave the sides 3-3 en route to the final in Lahore, but Dawid Malan’s 78’s failed to set the table for a crucial result in England’s favour.
Malan arrived at the party at the perfect time after a low-key run, sharing an unbeaten 108-run streak with Harry Brook to take the total to an impressive 209 for three.
Pakistan’s pursuit was nullified within two overs, with star batters Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan producing a rare double fault, and they hobbled to an overwhelming 142 for eight.
England decided not to risk captain Jos Buttler or pace bowler Mark Wood, both of whom remain for the World Cup later this month, but Chris Woakes’ return to fitness improved when he won three wickets for 26 carries.
The visitors lost the toss but came out on top when their openers netted 35 from the first three overs. Phil Salt picked up right where he left off in the last match win, crashing three of his first six deliveries into the ropes.
Alex Hales was also lively, amassing three consecutive fours against the uninspired Mohammad Wasim and picking gaps in the deep third, middle of the wicket and cover before Pakistan dragged things back in the fifth over, knocking out both men within three balls.
Hales was caught right in front of the middle when Mohammad Hasnain jagged a delivery from the seam, but Salt ran afoul of a sloppy run as new man Malan watched the ball on the striker’s end.
The number three would make amends for his part, starting with a racy score of 62 alongside the inventive Ben Duckett. The pair started cautiously but began to unlock their border options and found great favor in Shadab Khan’s mixed bag of broken legs and variations. They took 20 off his second over, Malan launched the first of his three sixes over the deep midwicket and Duckett hit one right over the bowler’s head.
Duckett was cut off in full flow by an opportunistic piece of glove work from Rizwan, who turned an inside edge deflection into a sharp run. But Malan found another willing partner in Brook who wasn’t in the unbroken century. Babar played an unintended role in their success, dropping Malan for cover at 29 and Brook at 24 from a particularly easy up-and-down chance against the unlucky Haris Rauf.
Brook needed just four balls to find his six-stroke range from Shadab and repeated the feat three more times during his stay, while England finished on a high with a 20-fold lead over Wasim’s last over.
Pakistan’s entire fixture schedule hinges on their exceptional opening partnership but with everything at stake England sacked them both within two overs.
Babar was the first to go, sucked in by Woakes’ slower ball and hitting it straight to Brook. That put the pressure on Rizwan, but he was sent home when Reece Topley’s second ball went past the bat and into the stump.
This exposed a middle order that had been shielded for too long by the persistence of the first two, and David Willey soon outstripped Iftikhar. A 37-to-three power play effectively ended the home side’s hopes, and the remainder of the innings played out tamely as the rate required rose to implausible heights.
Shan Masood made 56 as the game drifted, eventually falling to Woakes before the all-rounder added a third success in the final over of the tour.
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/cricket/england-dawid-malan-babar-azam-phil-salt-lahore-b2191128.html England end with triumph in Lahore to conclude T20 series win over Pakistan