England captain Eoin Morgan led his side to a seven-wicket win over Pakistan in a lone Twenty20 international in Cardiff on Sunday with an unbeaten innings of 57.
Test skipper Joe Root made 47 and James Vince 36 as England overhauled Pakistan’s total of 173 for six with four balls to spare at Sophia Gardens.
It was England’s second victory in three days after their one-day international success away to Morgan’s native Ireland in Dublin on Friday as they continued an encouraging start to a season that sees them staging both the 50-over World Cup and the Ashes.
England fast bowler Jofra Archer also continued his push for a World Cup call-up by taking two for 29.
“Jofra came on from the game in Ireland, he showed a lot more what he’s about,” said Morgan. “It’s another debut and they don’t always go well. The majority of the time they don’t.
“He and the other bowlers will have the opportunity to show what they can do (in the one-day series against Pakistan).”
“But it’s been a while, before the Ireland game, that he’s played 50-over cricket, and we’re conscious of not over-bowling him,” he added.
Vince’s attractive innings ended when he was caught down the legside by Pakistan captain and wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed off Imad Wasim, but Morgan kept the runs coming, taking 14 off three successive balls from medium-pacer Faheem Ashraf.
And even when Sarfraz caught Root, there was little danger to England’s hopes of victory, with Morgan hitting five fours and three sixes in his 29-ball stay.
Earlier, There was a bizarre incident at when the ground gave way beneath England’s David Willey as the seamer was just about to make his delivery stride.
Fortunately for England, Willey avoided serious injury.
Babar Azam (65) and Haris Sohail (50) shared a stand of 103 after Pakistan had been 31 for two following Sarfraz’s decision to bat first on a green-tinged pitch.
Haris hit Chris Jordan for six and Babar struck successive sixes off spinner Joe Denly before completing a 31-ball fifty.
Pakistan then saw both their well-set batsmen fall in quick succession with Barbados-born Archer, renowned for his form in T20 franchise cricket, removing Haris before he ran out Babar.
“We were about 10-12 runs short,” said Sarfraz, ahead of Wednesday’s ODI opener at The Oval. “Eoin Morgan and Joe Root batted well and we were always struggling after that.”