Pakistan stunned world cup favourites England by 14 runs typically true to reputation at Trent Bridge, Nottingham on June 3.
Badly beaten by the West Indies in their opening game, the Pakistanis ran up a massive 348 for 8 wickets in 50 overs in exposing the host team’s bowling attack. England, despite two century makers in Joe Root and Joss Butler, totaled 334 for 9 in their 50 overs.
It was a day everything went smoothly for the 1992 world cup champs whose batsmen were quick to put behind their bad loss to the West Indies with openers Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Rahman sharing in a 82-run in 14.1 overs for Mohammad Hafeez 84 off 62, (8×4, 2×6) and Babar Azam (63 off 66, 4×4, 1×6) to post 88 for the third wicket as Pakistan reached 199 for 3 off 32.5 overs when Azam departed. Hafeez continued the run assault being fourth out with the total on an imposing 311 off 42.4 overs. Skipper Sarfraz Ahmed weighed in with 55 with Pakistan maintaining a run rate of 6.96. Moeen Ali claimed 3 for 50 and Chris Woakes 3 for 71.
England’s run chase suffered an early hiccup losing Jason Roy for 8 trapped leg before wicket by Shadab Khan, but was steadied by Johnny Baitstow (32) and Root when the former was dismissed by Wahab Riaz with the total on 60. But England precipitated to 86 for 3 and 118 for 4 in 21.2 overs when skipper Eoin Morgan fell for 9 bowled by Mohammad Hafeez and Ben Stokes for 13 bowled by Shoaib Malik as Pakistan took control. England’s much talked of run mechanism had wilted under a bowling attack of a least fancied side. But the fight back came with Joe Root striking 107 off 104 balls inclusive of 10 boundaries and a six as he found an able ally in Jos Butler who made 103 off 76 balls containing 9 boundaries and 2 sixes putting on 130 for the sixth wicket. With England on 288 for 6 off 44.3 overs with the dismissal of Root, Butler continued bravely, but when he exited with the total on 320 off 47.5 overs Pakistan wrapped it up. Wahab was the pick of the bowlers for Pakistan with 3 for 82. The Player of the Match was Mohammad Hafeez.
Pakistan 348/8 (50 Overs) (Hafeez 84, Babar 63, Sarfaraz 55, Moeen 3-50, Woakes 3-71)
England 334 for 9 (50 Overs) (Root 107, Buttler 103, Wahab 3/82)
By Srian Obeyesekere
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-