England 221 for 3 (Brook 81*, Duckett 70*) beat Pakistan 158 for 8 (Masood 65*, Wood 3-24) by 63 runs
Brook and Duckett both notched maiden T20I fifties during a record fourth-wicket stand for England in the format, the pair belying their relative inexperience at this level to add 139 from just 69 deliveries. Brook’s form was particularly scintillating, as he carved eight fours and five sixes to finish not out on 81 from just 35 deliveries – a strike rate of 231.42. Duckett produced his best innings in an England shirt with an unbeaten 70 from 42.
Having reeled in 200 while barely breaking sweat the night before, Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan were the key men for Pakistan as they attempted what would have been a record chase. But Wood and Reece Topley, two of England’s three changes to the XI, removed both openers for single-figure scores and Pakistan quickly careened out of contention at 28 for 4 in the final over of the powerplay.
Wood fires the defence
Although England piled up the runs after being inserted, another raucous crowd watched on expectantly as Babar and Rizwan walked out together, barely 24 hours on from the record, unbroken 203-run opening stand that had levelled the series. But hopes of an encore were quickly scotched, as England’s reshaped attack ripped out the cream of Pakistan’s batting.
The first cut was the deepest, as Wood immediately set about cranking up the pace to levels none of his compatriots can match. His fourth delivery was back of a length in the channel outside off, encouraging Babar to open up the shoulders – but with 147kph/91mph of heat on the ball, Pakistan’s batting bellwether could only manage a thick edge that soared down to deep third, where Topley calmly held a head-high catch. Silence descended on the National Stadium as Babar trudged off.
Topley then removed Rizwan in the next over with a slower delivery that pinged leg stump, and Wood had his second a ball later as Haider Ali spliced another rocket to square leg. Wood’s last senior appearance in any format came during the Antigua Test in March, his summer wrecked by two elbow operations; but any doubts that he could still be a potent weapon at the T20 World Cup were immediately dispelled by a spell in which he was clocked at 156.2kph/97mph, the value of his extra gas rarely more explicit.
England’s new-look engine room
Coming into this series, it was far certain that both Brook and Duckett would play in the middle order. The latter is not in England’s T20 World Cup squad and hadn’t been capped in any format since 2019, while Brook benefited from the absence of Liam Livingstone and Ben Stokes in Pakistan to add to his four previous appearances. Both showed glimpses of what they were capable of in the first two T20Is, before kicking things up a notch here.
His fifth and seventh balls, bowled by Usman Qadir, were sent over the ropes, the first straight down the ground and the next over extra cover as the bowler tossed it up wide of the stumps. Haris Rauf, a sometime team-mate with Yorkshire and Lahore Qalanders, for whom Brook scored the second-fastest PSL hundred earlier this year, was hooked brusquely for six, as England began to track at ten an over with plenty of time left in the innings. Shahnawaz Dahani’s third over went for 16 as Brook raced to a 24-ball fifty.
Duckett notched his own half-century, from 31 balls, in the next and Rauf briefly stopped Brook in his tracks with a bouncer that lodged in the grille of his helmet. But they were off again, as Duckett swatted Mohammad Hasnain over deep square leg and Brook showcased both power and precision, drilling Dahani for a straight six and then deftly steering a follow-up yorker wide of the keeper. Dahani finished with 0 for 62, the second most-expensive analysis by a Pakistan bowler in T20Is.
Masood massages the margin
With Babar and Rizwan ensconced at the top of the order, Masood has had to take his chance wherever he can find a space. The 32-year-old made 7 off 7 batting at No. 4 on debut in the first T20I, and appeared ill-suited to the demands of trying to nail down a spot in Pakistan’s ever-changing middle-order roster, where the openers’ methodical run-plundering often requires those who come after to tee off straight away.
It may have come in a lost cause, but Masood’s performance on this occasion suggested he has the wherewithal to survive. He played freely against England’s two spinners, twice dumping Rashid over the ropes and going to a 28-ball fifty with another six off Moeen Ali, outscoring both of his partners, Khushdil and Mohammad Nawaz, during consecutive 50-plus stands that lifted Pakistan away from ignominy. And perhaps his canniest move was making sure to only face three balls from Wood.
Alan Gardner is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick
(With Inputs from ESPN)
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