Pakistan end tour with win
England were thrashed in their final international of the summer, losing the sole Twenty20 match against Pakistan by nine wickets at Old Trafford Wednesday.
Set 136 to win, Pakistan reached their target inside 15 overs, with Sharjeel Khan (59) and Khalid Latif (59 not out) sharing an opening stand of 107.
It is England’s joint-second biggest T20 defeat in terms of balls remaining and the third time they have lost by nine wickets.
The home side earlier limped to 135 for 7, losing six wickets for 54 runs, and at one stage went more than seven overs without finding the boundary.
This was a disappointing night at the end of an otherwise successful limited-overs summer for England, one in which they have won one-day series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan, as well as the only T20 against the former.
Here, on an ideal batting surface, they could not get on top of a Pakistan attack whose four pace bowlers cleverly varied their length and pace, along with left-arm spinner Imad Wasim, who did not concede a boundary.
Then the dazzling strokeplay of Sharjeel and Latif delighted a packed, partisan and deafening Old Trafford, ending Pakistan’s tour on a considerable high.
Defending such a modest total, England needed everything to go their way in the field – instead they were hit by a storm of boundaries from Sharjeel and Latif.
Whereas England struggled to find the fence – they hit only 10 fours and one six – Pakistan’s first 36 runs came exclusively in fours, in the space of four overs.
Left-hander Sharjeel and his right-handed partner Latif took advantage as England too often dropped short, with captain Eoin Morgan forced to turn to Joe Root’s occasional off-spin inside the powerplay.
When Morgan called on his frontline spinners, Sharjeel twice lofted Adil Rashid over the mid-wicket fence to reach a 30-ball half-century.
Rashid at least had Sharjeel sky to Moeen Ali at cover, and then had a stumping chance missed by Jos Buttler to reprieve Babar Azam.
But by then, the result was not in doubt, Latif clubbing Moeen over cow corner to complete his half-century in 36 balls and Babar hitting Liam Plunkett for four to complete the rout.
England’s problems began long before then, in a batting effort that was stifled by the accuracy, variation and execution of Pakistan’s five bowlers.
Alex Hales and Jason Roy added 56 for the first wicket but, after Roy was given lbw reverse-sweeping the brilliant Imad for 21, England slipped to 110-6.
Hales was bowled by Imad for 37 before the quartet of pacemen, three of whom are left-armers, took over.
Using changes of pace, Hasan Ali had Joe Root and Ben Stokes caught at third man and deep square leg respectively, while the excellent Wahab Riaz had Morgan edge behind and Buttler slap to deep point.
In all of this, England went from the end of the 10th over to midway through the 18th without finding the rope.
When David Willey finally hit Sohail Tanvir to the mid-wicket fence, it was the only boundary England hit in the second half of their innings.