Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan masterclass stun England in 10-wicket win over Pakistan

Published by
Peter Kavinsky

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England had no answer for a majestic 200-run partnership between centurion Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan as Pakistan leveled their Twenty20 series 1-1 with a 10-wicket win in Karachi.

The tourists were more than happy after posting 199 for five, with captain Moeen Ali leading with 55 not outs in 23 deliveries, but were vastly outplayed by the home side’s openers.

Babar scoffed at questions about his Asian Cup goal-scoring rate, hammering 110 from 66 balls, and Rizwan broke an unbeaten 88 as they tied nine sixes and 16 fours.

England will be concerned about the lack of incision in their bowling attack but the two chances they generated against Rizwan were wasted as Alex Hales dropped him on the 23rd and Phil Salt fended off a pinfall at 32.

England started well after winning the coin toss, Salt and Hales netting 42 from the first five overs, including a six each as they set the tone for a high-profile evening at the National Stadium.

Shahnawaz Dahani seriously hampered their progress in the sixth with two wickets from as many balls. Hales, fresh from returning fifty 48 hours earlier, had his bail cut by an in-cutter on the 26th before Dawid Malan was knocked down around his legs for a golden duck.

The hat-trick ball was well headed by Dahani but well defended by Ben Duckett, a rare display of deference in an assertive 43-for-22 shot. He showed his range with some deft scoops on the keeper, nailed his reverse sweeps and at one point took four limits on eight balls.

England’s Ben Duckett leaves the field after losing his wicket (Anjum Naveed/AP)

(AP)

Salt had slowed down enough that his dismissal by Haris Rauf was only a minor setback, but when Duckett was knocked down the next class, attempting to tip Mohammad Nawaz onto the thin leg, it seemed more significant.

But England went even harder to the death, with Harry Brook netting a practice 31 before paying the price for a misjudged ramp and Moeen scoring big hits. The skipper pitched Usman Qadir for six straight and finished innings with two others as he powered his own to a substantial total.

Pakistan knew they would rely heavily on their elite opening duo, but they took the burden lightly. Babar and Rizwan threw themselves into their work, keeping pace with a demanding request rate as they took on four different bowlers in a chaotic power play.

Tailors David Willey, Sam Curran and Luke Wood all took a few hits but Liam Dawson was unfortunate when he drew a skier from Rizwan only to but Hales to juggle him halfway.

As if to underscore the seriousness of the miss, Rizwan kicked the next ball for six. Adil Rashid nearly bailed Hales when his first delivery went past Rizwan’s outside edge as he left his crease, but Salt’s glove work let him down.

Pakistani captain Babar Azam celebrates his centenary (Anjum Naveed/AP)

(AP)

After scoring 87 in the first half of the chase, Pakistan still needed another 113 in the second half but never looked back as both batters sprinted for half centuries.

Moeen came out on top for 13th and was whipped for 21, with Babar slipping two big sixes and Rizwan adding another. Two more followed as English banker Rashid failed to stem the tide.

Babar’s striking became more and more consistent and he passed his partner to reach a second hundred T20s in just 62 deliveries. Wood dispatched 17 from the penultimate, allowing Babar to finish things off with three balls in reserve.

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Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at cablefreetv.org

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