LAHORE, Pakistan: England finished their first tour to Pakistan in 17 years with a thumping 67-run win in their Twenty20 decider on Sunday to clinch the exciting seven-match series 4-3.
Dawid Malan (78 not out off 47 balls) smashed his first half century of the series and Harry Brook hit an unbeaten 29-ball 46 as both profited from three dropped catches in England’s strong total of 209-3.
Pakistan, who won the toss and chose to field, were effectively out of the chase once the usually prolific opening pair of captain Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan departed within the first two overs.
Pakistan finished on 142-8.
Babar, who dropped both Malan and Brook, gave a regulation catch at cover in Chris Woakes’ first over and Reece Topley clean bowled Rizwan off a full-length delivery.
No. 3 Shan Masood fought a lone battle with 56 off 43 against well-disciplined England pacers with Woakes (3-26), David Willey (2-22), Sam Curran (1-27) and Topley (1-34) all chipping in with wickets.
“Brilliant game today, we played really well from the start,” said England captain Moeen Ali. “The batters put up a very good score and I thought our bowling was outstanding in wet conditions. We had two must-win games, to come back and win them is good to see.”
Regular England T20 skipper Jos Buttler didn’t play a single game on tour and continued his rehabilitation on an injured calf.
England’s opening pair of Phil Salt (20) and Alex Hales (18) once again provided a brisk start of 39 before both fell in the space of three deliveries in the fifth over.
Hales was pinned leg before wicket by Mohammad Hasnain, one of the four changes Pakistan made from the team which lost the last game by eight wickets on Friday.
Salt couldn’t beat a strong direct throw from Shadab Khan and was run out after Malan refused a single and stood his ground at the striker’s end.
Ben Duckett hit a breezy 30 off 19 balls before he was run out by Rizwan who clipped the bails after the ball bounced in front of him off Duckett’s bat but England continued to score more than 10 runs an over in the first half of the innings.
Sloppy Pakistan fielding let both Malan and Brook combine in a beefy and unbroken 108-run stand off 61 balls as Babar dropped both batters in their 20s before Mohammad Wasim also couldn’t grab an opportunity after Malan had completed his half century.
“Our fielding was not up to the mark today and when you drop crucial catches of set batters, you are bound to struggle,” Babar said.
Haris Rauf, who was rested in the last game, bowled well in the death overs to finish with 0-24, but fast bowler Mohammad Wasim cost 0-61 – Pakistan’s third most expensive figures in a T20 international.
“We couldn’t execute our plans in the field and credit goes to England for fully capitalizing,” Babar said.
Malan hit eight fours and three sixes while Brook smashed four sixes and a boundary as Wasim conceded 20 in the last over which lifted England to its second highest total of the series.
Pakistan’s middle order had struggled throughout the series and once again couldn’t cope up with the pressure after both Babar and Rizwan were dismissed early.
Willey missed a skier off his own bowling which could have ended Iftikhar Ahmed’s knock before he found the outside edge of the right-hander as Pakistan slipped to 33-3 inside the batting powerplay.
England strangled Pakistan’s struggling middle-order through pace as Pakistan never looked to challenge a strong total.
Masood, who hit his second half century of the series after making his T20 debut at Karachi, fell against Woakes when he was brilliantly snapped by a diving Adil Rashid at short third-man in the penultimate over of the innings.
England will return to Pakistan in December when they play a three-Test series.