Exceptional performances from opening batsman Jason Roy and wrist-spinner Adil Rashid helped England come out triumphant in a battle of attrition against Pakistan in the third and final T20I in Manchester on Tuesday.
Rashid picked up a four-wicket haul (4/35) on the day. He dismissed Pakistan’s key batsmen – skipper Babar Azam (11), Sohaib Maqsood (13) and Mohammad Hafeez (1) – through his spell and tilted the scales in England’s favour. Rashid’s stand-out act in the bowling department was backed up well by economic spells from Moeen Ali (1/19) and Liam Livingstone (0/21).
England managed to restrict Pakistan to a modest total of 154/6 despite the visitors opting to bat first after winning the toss. Wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan played an unbeaten knock of 76 off 54 balls to control things from one end. But the rest of the Pakistan batsmen failed to take the game to England. Apart from Rizwan, Fakhar Zaman (24) was the only other visiting batter to reach past the 20-run mark.
In the run-chase, openers Roy and Jos Buttler stitched a stand of 67 runs for the first wicket. Even though Buttler (21) didn’t get going during his 22-ball stay, Roy ensured that England maximised the powerplay restrictions before being dismissed in the 11th over of the chase.
The hosts were well placed at 92/1 at one stage, with the asking rate not posing much of a challenge for their lengthy batting unit. But a flurry of wickets and a string of tight overs from Pakistan, especially Hafeez, who three wickets on the day, meant that the hosts were suddenly under some pressure at 116/4, requiring a further 39 runs off 24 balls.
With left-handers Dawid Malan (31) and captain Eoin Morgan (21) batting together in the middle, Pakistan backed Hafeez for the 17th over. But, though the off-spinner started the over well, he ended up conceding two crucial fours. Similarly, in the 18th over, Hasan Ali bowled three dot balls, but a couple of sixes from Morgan’s bat meant that the pressure was released. England did lose Malan, Morgan and Livingstone in the next two overs, but some crucial hits in-between ensured they still won by three wickets with two balls to spare.
Pakistan 154/6 in 20 overs (Mohammad Rizwan 76, Fakhar Zaman 24; Adil Rashid 4/35, Moeen Ali 1/19) lost to England 155/7 in 19.4 overs (Jason Roy 64, Dawid Malan 31; Mohammad Hafeez 3/28, Imad Wasim 1/25) by 3 wickets.