Aamir Jamal seals Pakistan’s win in fifth T20 as England slip in pursuit

In the end, in game five of the series, it all came down to whether or not Moeen Ali hit 15 runs from the final over. England chased just 145 but it was a hot evening under lights in Lahore, on a slippery tricky pitch and apart from Moeen none of his batsmen could feel in conditions that felt very different from what they had experienced in last week Karachi.

However, Moeen had managed to drag out the game and thanks to a misjudgment by Babar Azam he found himself facing Aamir Jamal, a 26-year-old debutant with six balls to go and the game on the line.

At least it seemed like a miscalculation before Jamal took up bowling. The first two shipments were full and fast, and Moeen refused to take individual pieces from either of them. The third was wide. Moeen caught the fourth, which disappeared for six. But the fifth and sixth were right where they needed to be, and it was all Moeen could do to push the first of them away for a single. That meant David Willey had to hit a six on his very first delivery to even the points and he didn’t make it.

It has to be said that there had been a lot of mindless beating before all of this. In the first five overs, Phil Salt, Alex Hales and Ben Duckett were all caught midway down. The stupid layoffs were as dense as the flies that filled the night sky. Some of them thicker. After that, Pakistan’s three spinners throttled England’s middle order.

“Today was definitely our most disappointing game with the racquet,” Moeen said afterwards. “I just felt like we needed a partnership, 60 or 70 runs would have won us the match but we couldn’t get it.”

It looked as if England had also selected their strongest eleven to date. Dawid Malan, San Curran and Mark Wood were all back, as was Chris Woakes, who last represented England in the third Test against the West Indies in March.

England won the toss and Woakes quickly slipped back into his old role of opening bowling. He, Curran, Wood and Willey shared eight gates. Only Adil Rashid, who conceded 41 goals in four overs, struggled to impress. It seemed like a place for sailors until Pakistan started bowling on it.

Shadab Khan, one of three players Pakistan brought to his team, provided a lesson on how to handle bowling spins on the surface in the second half of the game as he delivered four overs for 25 and won a key wicket, Malan lbw for 36, with one firing straight.

Pakistan's wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan scored 63 balls from 46 balls.
Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan scored 63 balls from 46 balls. Photo: Aamir Qureshi/AFP/Getty

Wood was the best of England’s quicks. He took wickets in each of his first three overs, Babar caught on the border, Haider Ali caught and rolled from the top edge, and Asif Ali rolled with a Yorker. He had numbers of three for 10 before conceding another 10 runs from his last six deliveries.

In between, Willey, who was having his best game on tour so far, let Shan Masood intercept a slower ball and then caught Iftikhar Ahmed on point. With Shadab and Mohammad Nawaz dreaming up a couple of disastrous run-outs, Pakistan were 106 points with seven overs from 14.

But Mohammad Rizwan was still there. He was dropped again by Hales when he was on nine and made 63 of 46 balls. It was his fourth over-50 in five innings. Rizwan, who sits at the top of the ICC’s T20 batting leaderboard, appeared to be playing a different game to everyone else. The best of his innings were the three glorious sixes he hit, one over the midwicket by Willey, another over the bottom by Rashid, the last square drawn by Wood.

After Rizwan was caught on a full throw, the final pair put on another 14 runs. It turned out to be the difference between the teams, even though it shouldn’t have been.

Rizwan was also almost finished, but Curran’s shot caught him in the back on the run. The strike meant he was unable to keep the wicket in the second innings but it’s only a minor injury and he will be back for the sixth game of the series on Friday.

There is more concern for fast bowler Naseem Shah, who was hospitalized overnight with pneumonia. Whether he will be fit for the warm-up games before the World T20 is open.

Of course, the local audience didn’t think about it. It had been another entertaining game in another packed stadium. Judging by the look on his face as he sat in the Pakistan Cricket Board box, even US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome seemed pleased.

He was luckier than former President Dwight Eisenhower, who once spent a day testing cricket here in Pakistan when Australia was on tour in 1959 and saw Pakistan score just 104 runs in a full day of play.

#Aamir #Jamal #seals #Pakistans #win #T20 #England #slip #pursuit

About the author


Leave a Comment