England overcome Hasan Ali five-for to win by 52 runs to take series with game to spare
England 247 (Salt 60, Vince 56, Hasan 5-51) vs Pakistan
England have wrapped up the Royal London ODI series against Pakistan with a game to spare following a 52-run victory over Pakistan at Lord’s.
It bears repetition that this is a highly proficient Pakistan side. Going into this series they had lost just one of their most recent 12 completed ODIs and, had they won this game convincingly, they could have risen to second place in the World Cup Super League. To beat them at any time is an achievement; to beat them without the use of at least 20 of your best players is another demonstration of England’s current depth in limited-overs resources.
Modest though England’s total may look, it should probably have been far fewer. With both Dawid Malan, drawn into flashing at one angled across him, and Zak Crawley, late on a yorker, falling for ducks, England were 21 for 2 at the start of their innings with Hasan and Shaheen Shah Afridi threatening. But Pakistan’s support bowlers were unable to sustain the pressure, squandering the help in the surface by bowling too wide and too short.
For while England’s opening bowlers also made inroads – Saqib Mahmood again proving dangerous and defeating Babar Azam with one that seamed in and Mohammad Rizwan with one that seamed away – they won far better support from their colleagues. Craig Overton earned the wicket of Fakhar Zaman by allowing him to scored two from the 14 balls he bowled at him and finally nipping one back through the gate, while Carse bowled with impressive pace.
England’s batters also deserve credit, though. For while there was a time when, confronted with such conditions, a batting side might be expected to react with caution, those days have gone. Certainly when England are batting. Instead Salt threw his hands at almost everything he received. And if there was some rust amid the diamonds – a dropped chance here; an inside edge that whistled past the stumps there – the aggression of the approach appeared to wrong-foot Pakistan’s support bowlers, in particular.
Perhaps the highest-class batting of the day came from Vince. While he, too, was aggressive, he looked just a little more controlled when coming down the wicket to drive the seamers through the covers or latching on to the resultant short ball with powerful pull strokes. Salt’s maiden ODI fifty took 41 balls; Vince’s second in ODIs took just 36 balls.
At that stage, it looked as if Pakistan would keep England below 200. But Gregory and Carse gave their side some hope. And when Gregory followed up with the early wicket of Imam-ul-Haq at the start of the reply, the value of their partnership was put in perspective.
But by the time Simpson, anticipating Faheem’s sweep and slipping down the leg-side, held on to a superb catch off the face of the bat, it was clear it was to be England’s day. Some of these England players may not appear in a lot more international cricket – there’s no way the likes of Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow and Chris Woakes get left out of a first-choice side – they will have warm memories of the day they won England a series in front of a full house at Lord’s.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo
(With Inputs from ESPN)
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