Pakistan wraps up much-needed victory to start T20I series against England

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Nottingham: Pakistan defeated England by 31 runs after a nail-biting contest to win T20I series opener here on Saturday. 

Shadab Khan with his three wickets, a brilliant catch at the boundary, and sharp run-out followed by Shaheen Shah’s three wickets led Pakistan to defend the total.

Earlier, a 150-run stand between Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam led Pakistan to 232/6 in 20 overs.

England’s captain Eoin Morgan put Pakistan into bat first at a batting-friendly pitch. The reliable duo of Rizwan and Babar put 49 in the powerplay.

Rizwan started slow, however, he gained momentum in the middle-overs. The batters took on leg-spinner Mark Pattinson and part-timer Liam Livingstone. In the process, Babar registered his 19th fifty while Rizwan posted his seventh half-century.

The hosts had a sigh of relief in the 15th over as Lewis Gregory dismissed Rizwan. The wicketkeeper-batter scored 63 off 41, powered by eight fours and a six.

The 34-year-old Sohaib Maqsood walked in the middle and joined the party, scoring 7 off 19 balls. He was caught at the fence by David Willey off Tom Curran.

Babar (85) was the next man to depart in the 17th over. In his 49-ball innings, he stroked eight fours and three sixes

Fakhar Zaman and Mohammad Hafeez carried the platform as they scored 46 off 16 balls for fourth wickets. Hafeez made 10-ball 24 while Fakhar made 8-ball 26.

Pakistan reached their highest-ever total in the format, the previous best was 205/3 against West Indies in Karachi in 2018.

For England, all bowlers were expensive. Curran bagged two while Saqib Mehmood, Willey and Gregory took one each.

In reply, England lost their opener, Dawid Malan, earlier on just 12 runs. Jonny Bairstow departed after scoring 11 followed by Jason Roy (31) and Moeen Ali (1).

Liam Livingstone caught the limelight by scoring his maiden T20I century. While making the most of his experience of playing Haris Rauf, Shaheen, and Hasnain in the Pakistan Super League, Livingstone smashed 103 runs off 53 balls laced with six boundaries and nine sixes.

He made the mammoth run-chase look easy at one stage but Shadab removed him to bring the Green Shirts back in the game.

Haris, Hasnain and Imad also picked up a wicket each for Pakistan apart from Shaheen and Shadab.

Teams

Pakistan: Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Babar Azam (capt), Sohaib Maqsood, Mohammad Hafeez, Fakhar Zaman, Azam Khan, Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Shaheen Shah Afridi,  Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hasnain.

England: Jason Roy, Dawid Malan, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Liam Livingstone, Moeen Ali, Eoin Morgan, Lewis Gregory, Tom Curran, David Willey, Saqib Mahmood, Matt Parkinson.

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