In what was an anticlimactic finale at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium on Sunday, England defeated Pakistan by 67 runs to clinch the seven-match series 4-3.
The anticipation in Punjab capital was for the final stanza of the marathon series to go down to the wire, but the battle was practically over a few overs into the second innings.
And even though the fixture saw full 40 overs, the game was anything but competitive soon after the halfway mark as the hosts buckled under the pressure of having to chase a gargantuan 210 runs.
As it usually happens, all hope was lost as soon as Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan vanished early and within a span of three deliveries. From that point on, the rest of the batters were merely chasing consolation as all intent to even attempt to get near the target was replaced by piling up garbage runs that did not help the cause.
Shan Masood top scored with a 43-ball 56 but it served no purpose as Pakistan managed to muster a mere 142 for the loss of eight wickets by the end of their allotted 20 overs.
Earlier, after being invited to bat first by Babar Azam, England finished with 209-3. Star of the show for England was Dawid Malan, who smashed an unbeaten 78 off 47 to power the tourists to 209-3. He was aided by Harry Brook in the second half of the innings. The right-handed batter contributed a 29-ball 46 and also remained not out.
Also coming to England’s aid were Pakistan fielders who generously dropped at least three catches. The biggest culprit was the skipper himself, who dropped two, with Mohammad Wasim grassing the third.
Speaking of Wasim, it was a night to forget for the pacer, who leaked 61 runs in his four overs and went wicketless. His final over was bled for 20 runs.
Wasim’s off-night undid the good work of other two Pak pacers who were excellent, especially Haris Rauf, who gave up just 24 in his four overs. Spin was also ineffective for Pakistan, with Shadab Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed and Mohammad Nawaz conceding 85 runs in total in their eight overs.
The series — England’s first tour of Pakistan for 17 years — is tied at 3-3 with the visitors winning the first, third and sixth games.
Pakistan made four changes from the last game, bringing in Mohammad Rizwan, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hasnain and Khushdil Shah at the expense of Shahnawaz Dahani, Mohammad Haris, Haider Ali and Aamer Jamal.
England brought back pacer Chris Woakes for Richard Gleeson in their only change.
Pakistan: Babar Azam (captain), Mohammad Rizwan, Asif Ali, Khushdil Shah, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Hasnain, Shan Masood, Mohammad Wasim Junior, Haris Rauf
England: Moeen Ali (captain), Dawid Malan, Harry Brook, Sam Curran, Ben Duckett, Reece Topley, Alex Hales, Adil Rashid, Phil Salt, Chris Woakes, David Willey
Umpires: Asif Yaqoob (PAK) and Ahsan Raza (PAK)
TV umpire: Rashid Riaz (PAK)
Match referee: Javed Malik (PAK)
With additional input from AFP