Series on the line as Pakistan, England clash in final T20

Published October 2, 2022
Pakistan's captain Babar Azam (R) stands with his England's counterpart Moeen Ali (L) during toss before the start of the second Twenty20 international cricket match between Pakistan and England at the National Cricket Stadium in Karachi on September 22. — AFP/File
Pakistan's captain Babar Azam (R) stands with his England's counterpart Moeen Ali (L) during toss before the start of the second Twenty20 international cricket match between Pakistan and England at the National Cricket Stadium in Karachi on September 22. — AFP/File

LAHORE: After an utterly dominant victory against Pakistan that saw them level the series at 3-3, England’s Phil Salt vowed there would be no let up from his side going into the seventh and final T20 International at the Gaddafi Stadium on Sunday.

It was an explosive unbeaten 88 from Salt, who’d flattered to deceive in the earlier matches, which saw England reach the 170-run target on Friday night with more than five overs to spare and the wicket-keeper batter said they wanted to keep Pakistan on the back foot in the series-deciding fixture.

“As a team, we know what we do well and no rethinking is necessary on that front,” Salt told reporters at a news conference after his man-of-the-match performance.

“We have a template of sorts, it’s just about being smarter, choosing the high percentage shots that we haven’t done in the last couple of games. We want to remain on the front foot and put the other teams on backfoot.”

Salt and his opening partner Alex Hales provided England the ideal platform to build their chase with the duo bringing up 50 runs after just three overs.

It came after England had failed to chase scores of 166 and 145 in the previous two matches of the series.

“We knew it was a good wicket, we knew we wanted to get the best start possible,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, I play aggressively and I want to win as many games as I can when I am wearing the England shirt.”

Such was England’s dominance that Pakistan skipper Babar Azam, who scored an unbeaten 87 on Friday, admitted his side had been completely outplayed and the absences of key pacers Naseem Shah — out due to Covid-19 — and the rested Haris Rauf were sorely felt.

Babar was also without vice-captain and opening partner Mohammad Rizwan due to fitness issues and Pakistan’s middle-order was again found wanting even though Iftikhar Ahmed got a brisk 31.

But it was the quick dismissals of opener Mohammad Haris — in for Rizwan — and Shan Masood that Babar felt prevented Pakistan from getting a bigger score.

“Keeping in view how the pitch was playing and we lost back to back wickets, a total of 169 was looking good,” Babar rued at the end of the match. “The middle order has to step up and build partnerships.”

Middle order batter Haider Ali was hospitalised after the match on Friday although the Pakistan Cricket Board said that he had joined the team hotel on Saturday after undergoing a “complete medical check-up”.

A spokesperson of the PCB added that both Haider and Naseem will travel with the squad on Monday for their tri-nation series in New Zealand ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia, which begins from Oct 22.

Before that, though, Pakistan will hope to try and sign off on a winning note against England and their bowlers have a job on their hands to hit back on Sunday.

“We didn’t do a lot wrong and it was just great batting,” Pakistan’s bowling coach Shaun Tait told reporters on Friday. “They tried to hit every ball for a boundary and in some way, it caught our bowlers off guard. They just attacked us.”

On Friday’s showing, quelling that attack would be key if Pakistan are to win the series.

Published in Dawn, October 2nd, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

Wayward ideology
02 Dec, 2022

Wayward ideology

Anyone who claims his legacy for themselves should not treat his words so whimsically.
Progressive stance
02 Dec, 2022

Progressive stance

THE timing of two encouraging developments in the fight against domestic violence in Pakistan could not have been...
China Covid protests
02 Dec, 2022

China Covid protests

PUBLIC protests are rare in China where the People’s Republic maintains order through a strict authoritarian code...
Punjab crisis
01 Dec, 2022

Punjab crisis

ADMINISTRATIVE chaos has ruled Punjab ever since the ouster of the PTI government in April, deepening the...
Quetta attack
01 Dec, 2022

Quetta attack

It would be foolishness of the highest order were the authorities to ignore the emerging threat.
World AIDS Day
01 Dec, 2022

World AIDS Day

AS countries mark World AIDS Day on Dec 1, a timely report from Unicef has renewed concerns about the severe...