Eoin Morgan blasted a fifty off just 29 balls as England registered a seven-wicket win against Pakistan, the No.1 ranked T20I side in the one-off game in Cardiff. (Image credit: Twitter)
England survived a scare in the one-off ODI against Ireland in Dublin but they had no problems in the one-off Twenty20 International against Pakistan, the No.1 ranked side in the format as they defeated them by seven wickets to continue building momentum for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. England skipper Eoin Morgan led the charge with a blazing 57 off 29 balls and he was well backed-up by James Vince and Joe Root as England produced a clinical run-chase. For Pakistan, Babar Azam and Haris Sohail were the stars with aggressive fifties but it was a case of Pakistan’s bowlers not stepping up to the plate when it mattered.
Pakistan chose to bat and they were in trouble immediately when Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq departed to Tom Curran and Jofra Archer for 7. However, Babar Azam and Haris Sohail both stepped up and took the attack to the England bowlers. Sohail cut loose in the eight over by clobbering Chris Jordan for a six and four to deep midwicket and deep backward point respectively. Sohail found the boundaries regularly while Azam gave him good company with a six over long-on off Adil Rashid.
Azam, who is ranked No.1 in the world for Twenty20 International batsmen, showed his brilliance by hammering two sixes off Joe Denly and he notched up his fifty. Sohail reached his maiden fifty by nudging Curran to the leg side. However, the 16th over bowled by Archer tilted the balance towards England. Sohail miscued the pull to be caught at deep midwicket for 50 while Azam was run-out for 65. A couple of big hits from Faheem Ashraf and two boundaries in the last over bowled by Jordan by Imad Wasim helped Pakistan end on 173/6.
In response, Ben Duckett fell cheaply to Shaheen Afridi for 9 but Vince and Root steadied the ship with some positive batting. Vince regularly found the boundaries but on 36, he was strangled down the legside by Imad Wasim. Morgan started off positively with a boundary but in the 12th over, the skipper blasted six and two fours off Faheem Ashraf. Root tried some innovative strokeplay but he missed out on a fifty when he edged a scoop off Hasan Ali to Sarfaraz to be out for 47.
With 29 needed off three overs, Morgan and Denly held their nerve and got England closer to the target. Morgan ended the match in style by depositing Faheem Ashraf over long off for a six to seal a seven-wicket win. Pakistan will take on England in the first of five ODIs which will take place at the Kennington Oval on May 8.