Haris stars as Pakistan win thriller against England to end Karachi leg
The capacity crowd in Karachi were on the edge of their seats, as Shan Masood acrobatically hit the bulls eye in the last over to hand Pakistan a memorable victory on Sunday.
It was huge relief for captain Babar Azam and the team management, who almost lost the game in the 18th over, when all-rounder Liam Dawson smashed Mohammad Hasnain for 24, needing just nine runs from last two overs.
The game kept on swinging from one side to another throughout the 20 overs. But in last two overs pacers Haris Rauf and Mohammad Wasim Jr. held their nerve to level the seven-match series 2-2.
At the end of Hasnain’s over, hundreds of fans lost hope and started their march towards the exit doors. However, Haris Rauf’s stunning double strikes brought some life in the game as he reduced England to 162-9 in 19.4 overs. He claimed a massive wicket of Dawsan, who scored 34 off 17, and Olly Stone (0).
With only four runs required from the last over, Wasim Jr. kept it tight. Reece Topley tried to sneak a single as he pushed to the on-side to get off the strike, but the under-arm shy at the stumps by Masood was enough to end England innings.
It was an experience worth every penny for the fans, as they got a stunning four games of cricket in the Karachi-leg. The action will now move to Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium from September 28.
Setting up a 167-run target in the landmark 200th T20I game, the Pakistan’s batting-riddle to many is yet to be solved. Their risk-free approach while batting is heavily criticized by cricket experts.
Today, nothing was changed. Opener Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan started in the same manner. The manage to put 52 runs on the scoreboard in the powerplay. At that stage skipper Babar Azam was batting at 13 (11), while Rizwan was at the crease with 38 (26).
Overall, they provided a 97-run opening stand, with Rizwan playing the dominating hand with 60 off 44 deliveries, while Babar was sent packing after he scored 36 off 28. The Pakistan skipper struck three boundaries.
After Babar’s departure, the runs flow slowed down a bit with Rizwan and Shan Masood operating at the crease. The duo contributed 52 off 40 balls for the third wicket. Their strike-rate in the later part of the innings was again a bit concerning for the Men in Green with only a handful of game remaining ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia in October-November.
Shan departed after scoring 21 off 19, as crowed made a huge cheer to welcome Khushdil Shah (2). Rizwan, who scored 88 off 67 deliveries, where he struck nine boundaries and a six.
Asif Ali, who was playing for the first time in the series, smashed Topley for two maximums to finish the innings in style as Pakistan reach 166-4 in their allotted overs. The home side managed to hit only three maximums in their innings, with two of them came in the last over.
In reply, England were rocked by Hasnain and Mohammad Nawaz, who reduced the visitors to 14-3 in 2 overs. Nawaz, who was hit towards the fence in the first over, removed Phil Salt (8), while, Hasain struck twice in his first over picking up big wickets of Alex Hales (5) and Will Jacks (0).
Their wickets stopped in-from Ben Duckett and Harry Brook from scoring feely. Their 43-run stand, which brought England back in the chase, was broken by Nawaz, who claimed his second wicket of the night.
Duckett was trapped leg before wicket after scoring 33 off 24. Meanwhile, Brooks was dropped twice, at 4, a regulation catch grounded by Nawaz of Haris’ bowl.
He went on to score 34 off 29 with the help of two boundaries and a maximum. England captain made a 29-run contribution as England were bowled out for 163 in 19.2 overs.
For Pakistan, Nawaz ended with the figured of three for 35 from his four overs.
Pakistan: 1 Babar Azam (capt), 2 Mohammad Rizwan, 3 Shan Masood, 4 Iftikhar Ahmed, 5 Khushdil Shah, 6 Mohammad Nawaz, 7 Asif Ali, 8 Mohammad Hasnain, 9 Haris Rauf, 10 Usman Qadir, 11 Mohammad Wasim
England: 1 Phil Salt (wk), 2 Alex Hales, 3 Will Jacks, 4 Ben Duckett, 5 Harry Brook, 6 Moeen Ali (capt), 7 David Willey, 8 Liam Dawson, 9 Adil Rashid, 10 Olly Stone, 11 Reece Topley.