Pakistan beat England in a thriller to level series 2-2

By our correspondent

KARACHI: Pakistan on Sunday survived Liam Dawson’s scare thanks to Haris Rauf’s sensational bowling in the penultimate over which enabled the hosts down England by three runs in a high-voltage show to level the seven-match T20 series 2-2 with three games in hand.

Here at the National Stadium, chasing 167 England needed 33 runs in the final three overs. In the 18th over bowled by Mohammad Hasnain England plundered 24 runs when Dawson hit the right-armer for four fours and a six. And England now needed nine from 12 balls. After a dot ball, Haris Rauf was hit for four by Dawson. However, off his next two deliveries he got the wickets of Dawson (34) and Olly Stone (0) to leave England gasping at 162-9. Reece Topley then got a leg-bye before Haris bowled a dot ball to Adil Rashid (3*) and England needed four off the last over from Mohammad Wasim Junior.

Wasim bowled a dot ball and Reece Topley (0) then played the next ball towards short mid-wicket and went for a run but Shan Masood’s super diving throw crashed the stumps at the non-striker’s end to ensure Pakistan’s sensational victory as Topley was found well away from the crease. England were folded for 163. Dawson hammered five fours and one six in his 17-ball 34. Haris Rauf did a fantastic job by taking 3-32 in his quota of four overs. Mohammad Nawaz got 3-35 in four overs while Mohammad Hasnain claimed 2-40 in four overs. Haris was declared as man of the match.

Chasing a seemingly tricky target England had a disastrous star. Left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz gave an early breakthrough to Pakistan when he got rid of Phil Salt (8) in the first over of the innings, held nicely in the deep by Mohammad Wasim Junior. In the next over Mohammad Hasnain removed Alex Hales (5) and Will Jacks (0) to leave England gasping at 14-3. Alex was superbly held by Usman Qadir at mid-wicket while diving full-length towards his left while Jacks was bowed with a delivery that landed at the right area and the right-hander wanted to smash it towards onside, failed to connect.

At this stage Ben Duckett and Harry Brook tried to revive the innings but Mohammad Nawaz broke their 43-run stand when he trapped Duckett leg before to leave England tottering at 57-4 in the eighth over. Duckett referred it to the third umpire and the review showed the left-hander had to go as he was hit right in front.

Duckett struck five fours in his 24-ball 33. Skipper Moeen Ali joined Harry Brook and both did a fine job, sharing 49 valuable runs off just 34 balls to keep their side in the hunt. It was Nawaz who bowled Moeen, who struck three fours and one six in his 20-ball 29 and England were now 106-5 in the 14th over. In Nawaz’ third over which was the tenth over of the innings, 19 runs. He was hit by Moeen Ali for one six and a four and also smacked by Harry Brook for a glorious six and that really brought the visitors back in the game. However, it did not deter Pakistan as in the next over Mohammad Wasim Junior got the prized scalp of Harry Brook (34), held by Hasnain at deep fine-leg, which tilted the game towards the hosts.

Brook, dropped by Babar at cover off Haris Rauf when on four, struck two fours and one six from 29 balls. In the 17th over from Haris Rauf David Willey hit two successive fours with reverse strokes which went over the keeper’s head but off the next ball the right-armer bowled the left-hander with a super yorker. Willey hit ten-ball 11 with two fours.

In the end Dawson showed a real spark but Haris’s onslaught in the penultimate over helped Pakistan snatch the game from the jaws of defeat.

Earlier, it was another fine day for Pakistan’s most consistent opener Mohammad Rizwan as he smashed a fine 88 to guide Pakistan to a 166-4 after being invited to bat first.

Rizwan, who brought in his third fifty of the series, played until the end until Reece Topley removed him off the second ball of the last over of the innings, held by lex Hales at mid-off when he wanted to clear the fielder. Rizwan, who has scored four fifties now in his last five innings, completed his fifty off 38 balls. He hammered nine delightful fours and a huge six in his fantastic 67-ball knock.

Rizwan and Babar Azam set the tone. The duo as usual provided a solid 97 runs opening stand off 71 balls before Babar was held in the deep by Ben Duckett off spinner Liam Dawson. Babar struck 36 off 28 balls, clobbering three fours.

Rizwan then shared 52 off 40 balls for the second wicket association before Shan was trapped leg before by left-armer David Willey with a fine yorker-length delivery which hit the left-hander right in front.

Shan hit a 19-ball 21 which carried one four. When Shan was removed just nine balls were left. Reece Topley got rid of Khushdil Shah (2) off Khushdil Shah (2) and Rizwan off his two deliveries of the final over. It was Asif Ali who showed some spark, hitting the left-armer for two sixes to take Pakistan to a good total in the end.

Asif scored 13 not out off just three balls. Mohammad Nawaz remained not out on one.

Reece Topley was the pick of the bowlers with 2-37 in four overs while Liam Dawson (1-32 in 4) and Dawid Willey (1-31 in 4) were their successful bowlers for England. Pacer Olly Stone, who made his T20I debut, conceded 36 runs in his quota of four overs.

Earlier, Pakistan made two changes by bringing in pacer Wasim Junior and Asif Ali in place of Shahnawaz Dahani and Haider Ali. England made three changes by bringing in Alex Hales, Olly Stone and David Willey while resting Dawid Malan, Sam Curren and Mark wood.

The match was supervised by Asif Yaqoob and Faisal Afridi. Ahsan Raza was the television umpire, Rashid Riaz, the reserve umpire and Mohammad Javed acted as match referee.

The next game between the two nations will be held at the Gaddafi Stadium Lahore on Wednesday.

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