England narrowly lose against Pakistan but Moeen Ali shines
England were beaten by Pakistan by five runs in a gripping third Twenty20 international despite Moeen Ali scoring a half-century. This rounded off Pakistan’s tour of the UK on a high, a victory which meant the T20I series was drawn 1-1.
England captain Eoin Morgan won the toss and elected to field, or rather chase on what looked like a perfect wicket for batting.
39-year-old Mohammad Hafeez and 19-year-old Haider Ali were the stars of the Pakistan innings despite their age gap. Ali struck his second ball in international cricket for six before hitting a fabulous 54 off 33 deliveries.
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The experienced Hafeez followed his 69 in the second match with another impressive knock. Finishing on 86 not out from 52 balls, a barrage which included six sixes.
England might’ve been pleased to restrict the tourists to less than the 200 they looked set to reach at one stage. Chris Jordan the main architect. He picked up two wickets and became difficult to get away in the final overs. Pakistan finished on 190-4.
Pakistan bowl themselves to victory
In pursuit of 191 for victory, Jonny Bairstow rounded off a poor series when he was bowled for 0 by Shaheen Afridi in the first over.
Tom Banton however continued to impress as he smashed 46 from 31 balls. But, it was Moeen Ali who took the hosts close as much of the top order failed to get going.
Both Wahab Riaz and Shaheen Shah Afridi were excellent with the ball to restrict the flow of runs. They bowled quick and hostile and managed to pick up wickets along the way. The experience of Wahab Riaz, perhaps lacking for Pakistan in the tour up till now.
England thankful to Moeen Ali to keep Pakistan at bay
Ali returned to form with a powerful 61, including four fours and four sixes. The all-rounder was accompanied by Sam Billings, as the pair kept England in the contest.
When Ali was dismissed from the penultimate ball of the 19th over England looked out of it. However, needing 12 from the final two balls, Tom Curran smashed a six to keep hopes alive.
Curran couldn’t repeat the feat as Haris Rauf nailed his yorker off the final delivery to secure victory and draw the series.
A tightly fought series perhaps deserved to end in a draw. Only the opening T20I being rained off spoiling the contest having a winner.
Now England moves on to the doubler header series’ with Australia which begins on Friday with more Twenty20 action.
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