LAHORE -Clinical England outclassed hosts Pakistan in all the departments to win the decisive seventh T20I by huge margin of 67 runs to clinch the series 4-3 here at the jam-packed Gaddafi Stadium on Sunday night.
Although the home series loss disappointed the cricket-crazy fans, who started emptying the stadium in the 16th over, yet many of the cricket enthusiasts seemed optimistic for their team, saying despite the disappointment after the series defeat, they are hopeful that the men in green will bounce in T20 World Cup and provide them moments to cheer. But cricket experts now urging for replacement of injured and inconsistent players for World Cup as only this can brighten the chances of Team Green in the mega event.
Pakistan run-chase was as pathetic as their fielding as they were restricted to 142 runs in 20 overs. They lost two quick wickets in first two overs. Captain Babar, who dropped two catches, fell cheaply for just 1 run. Same was the case with Mohammad Rizwan, who also failed to score big in the crucial match, leaving the crease after scoring just 4 runs with Pakistan team reeling at 2-5 in 1.2 overs.
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Shan Masood was then joined by Iftikhar Ahmed and both added 28 runs for the third-wicket partnership. At this stage, when Iftikhar was looking well with bat, Willey provided England a crucial wicket, sending Iftikhar packing at his individual score of 19 runs off 16 balls laced with three boundaries.
Khushdil Shah was the next to join in-form Shan and the duo contributed significant 53 runs for the fourth-wicket stand. A big knock was due from Khushdil, who once again failed to deliver and scored 25-ball 27 runs hitting one four and one six. After Khushdil, no Pakistani batter could bat well and failed to cross the double figures.
Asif Ali and Mohammad Nawaz could score just 7 and 9 runs respectively. The next was set batter Shan Masood, who completed his second fifty of the series. He hammered 78 off 47 balls laced with eight fours and one six. Woakes was the bowler, who claimed the important wicket of Shan. Mohammad Wasim Jnr then gifted his wicket to David Willey. Chris Woakes was the main wicket-taker from England as he clinched 3 for 26 while David Willey bagged 2 for 22.
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Earlier, Pakistan’s misfielding and drop catches helped England post a mammoth total of 209-3 in 20 overs. It was blessed day for Dawid Malan, who got two chances, first dropped by skipper Babar Azam and then by Mohammad Wasim Junior in the 18th over. Harry Brook’s catch was also dropped by captain Babar.
England openers Alex Hales and Phil Salt provided good start to their side and added 39 runs in four overs before Mohammad Hasnain getting rid of Hales, who struck 18 off 13 with the help of three boundaries. Salt, the hero of 6th T20I, remained unlucky as he was run out by Shadab Khan’s straight throw. He could gather 20 runs.
Malan remained the most responsible and sensible batter from English side as he made unbeaten 78 wrapped with eight fours and three sixes. Poor fielding and drop catches also supported Malan in scoring big for England. Ben Duckett slammed 30 runs off 19 balls while Harry Brook contributed with significant unbeaten 46 off 29 balls with the help of a boundary and four sixes. For Pakistan, Muhammad Hasnain was the lone wicket-taker.
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In post-match talk, player of the match Dawid Malan said: “We saw this as a final, so to do it under pressure and put up a big score was fantastic. We felt the first 12-14 overs it was coming on nicely, then it slowed up. Luckily, our bowlers learnt from their mistakes and bowled fantastically well. We’re getting a break here and there, looking forward to getting to Australia and having a couple of days off. But it’s been fantastic to be here, thanks for having us.”
Scores in brief ENGLAND 209/3 (Dawid Malan 78*, Harry Brook 46*) beat PAKISTAN 142/8 (Shan Masood 56; Chris Woakes 3-26) by 67 runs.