Pakistan have stunned England with their excellent show at the Trent Bridge in Nottingham in the ongoing World Cup. After being put in to bat first, three of their batsmen slammed half-centuries to post 348 runs on the board and then their bowlers did just enough to defend the total to win the match by 14 runs. The experienced Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Amir who were not originally the part of the World Cup squad put their hand up when it mattered the most.
England were under pressure at the start in the chase and like South Africa, even Pakistan opened the bowling with the leg-spinner in Shadab Khan. This time Jason Roy got out early and also lost the review in the third over. He tried to play across the line and was rapped on the pads in front of the stumps. However, then Jonny Bairstow played his shots while Joe Root just looked to get his eye in.
He was also dropped off Mohammad Amir and the classy played made them pay by scoring runs at a quick pace. But, the likes of Bairstow, Eoin Morgan and Ben Stokes got out as England were left reeling at 118/4 in the 22nd over. Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez castled Stokes and Morgan respectively while another veteran Wahab Riaz sent back Bairstow.
Jos Buttler then came out and literally started to smash the ball from the word go. Suddenly things were happening and the game started to move at pace. Root also got into his elements and played some glorious strokes as Pakistan lost control over the proceedings. Buttler played cleverly to bring the scoop to the fore as well. Soon, the century partnership and in some time, Root got to his 15th century.
Buttler also notched up his three-figure score even as the required run-rate went up to 11. Both the batsmen got out after respective milestones and the onus fell on England’s much famous lower order. Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes joined hands then to bring the equation down to 38 runs off the last three overs.
But Wahab Riaz bowled a brilliant 48th over by skittling both the batsmen. While he bounced out Ali, the left-arm seamer outfoxed Woakes with pace who edged it behind to Sarfaraz Ahmed. This is where the game was done and dusted and despite, a couple of boundaries, England fell agonisingly short of the target by 14 runs.
Hafeez shines with the bat for Pakistan
Earlier in the day, Pakistan were invited to bat first by England and the Men in Green got off to a brilliant start in response. Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq belted the new ball after taking their time to settle in. They added 82 runs for the opening wicket before Moeen Ali foxed the former on 36 and then also sent back the other opener thanks to a superb catch from Chris Woakes.
Babar Azam and Mohammad Hafeez then took control of the innings and the duo mixed caution with aggression to stay ahead in the run-scoring. The duo stitched 88 runs together and just when Pakistan would’ve loved to see both of them go berserk, Azam lost his wicket again to Moeen Ali.
However, Hafeez continued timing the ball well to score 84 runs off just 62 balls even as Sarfaraz Ahmed also notched up a half-century. But both of them got out while upping the ante and Pakistan couldn’t accelerate as much as they would’ve liked in the last few overs. Still, they managed to post a mammoth total of 348 runs on the board for the loss of eight wickets after 50 overs.
They defended it superbly, in the end, denying even the centurions Jos Buttler and Joe Root on the day. This has been a spirited comeback by them after being rolled over by the Windies at the same venue.
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