England Dominates Pakistan in Third T20I: Rashid’s Spark and Buttler, Salt’s Onslaught Secure Victory

England secured a dominant victory in the final T20I against Pakistan with 27 balls to spare.

This victory, which clinched a 2-0 series win, highlighted the stark difference between the two teams just before the next T20 World Cup. Despite Haris Rauf’s explosive spell, Pakistan falters with the bat and is swept aside.

England Dominates Pakistan in Third T20I: Rashid’s Spark and Buttler, Salt’s Onslaught Secure Victory
Jofra Archer rejoices after Babar Azam's wicket. May 30, 2024•Getty Images

Pakistan 157 (Usman 38, Livingstone 2-17, Rashid 2-27, Wood 2-35) lost to England 158 for 3 (Salt 45, Rauf 3-38) by seven wickets.

When these two teams faced off in the most recent T20 World Cup final, there wasn’t much between them; however, going into the final T20I before the next edition of the tournament begins, the gap between them is absolutely chasmic. Following a devastating onslaught of top-order hitting from openers Jos Buttler and Phil Salt, England’s disciplined all-around bowling display helped them defeat Pakistan by 7 wickets with 27 balls remaining and win the series 2-0.

The cloudy conditions under which the match began were not exactly a precursor to England’s subsequent resounding domination. Opening batsmen Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan, who took the field for the first time this year, steadily opened the score in the first four overs before Pakistan came together to conclude the powerplay with 59, their second-highest powerplay total since January. But Adil Rashid led England’s comeback, taking five wickets for 27 runs each side of a short rain break.

Usman Khan’s brief, carefree resistance, which supported Pakistan with a 21-ball 38 when they looked like they would collapse, sufficiently preserved dreams of a competitive target. However, Chris Jordan’s outstanding catch allowed Liam Livingstone—who England used brilliantly in the middle overs—to be removed, and Pakistan eventually folded for 157.

Though England’s openers made a joke of the idea it was ever in doubt, there was a suspicion it wasn’t quite enough. In his opening over, Mohammad Amir was leathered for 16 and Naseem Shah pulverized for 25. England’s Powerplay score of 78 was their highest since they scored 82 against the same opposition in Lahore in 2022.

And even though the score was somewhat restored to decency by Haris Rauf, who claimed three wickets in a furious, energetic stint, the hosts wouldn’t even allow him to have the last laugh, as Harry Brook crushed him for six overs in cover to complete a stunning victory before their World Cup defense started.

Pakistan had been provided a platform by Rizwan and Babar, but the events that transpired after the powerplay’s last ball were more important than anything that came before it. Rashid managed to hold onto the one that the Pakistani skipper edged to the short third. Since the openers are sometimes blamed for losing steam after the powerplay, the middle order had their work cut out for them when Rashid broke through Rizwan’s defenses in the following over.

However, Fakhar Zaman was unable to be stopped from entering the game and holed out as Rashid made a brilliant grab on a play. He came back to finish off Shadab Khan’s opening delivery, and Mark Wood’s quickness forced Azam Khan to bowl five balls without scoring. This was just the start of his horror.

Also Read: England’s T20 World Cup Triumph: Stokes and Curran Shine Bright

England Dominates Pakistan in Third T20I: Rashid’s Spark and Buttler, Salt’s Onslaught Secure Victory
Adil Rashid assisted in controlling Pakistan. May 30, 2024•Getty Images

It appeared like Pakistan was about to sneak in a big over each time Buttler sent the ball to Livingstone. The big shot never seemed to be on, but the spinner managed to bowl beautiful lines to nicely set fields. Not to be outdone by being milked for sixteen in his opening two overs, though, Livingstone bowled the game’s most influential over in the fifteenth, dismissing a pair of wickets in a maiden.

Usman, the leading scorer for Pakistan, was out to Jordan, then Shaheen Afridi smeared at one that struck his stumps. The last of Pakistan’s batting resistance had been crushed by the time Livingstone finished his innings.

Surely Pakistan’s quartet of pacers would find a way to keep England at bay on a pitch as true as this one? Correct?

False. While Shaheen and Naseem may have been unlucky to give up 18 points without getting anything in the opening two games, the rest of the match was a one-sided thumping. Even the wicket’s pace favored the hitters, as Buttler and Salt’s timing and touch caused their touches to fly to the boundary. Flustered and anxious, Pakistan’s bowlers found their pace one-dimensional and their lengths wobbling. The English openers could have easily taken full advantage of the situation.

Azam’s terrible day had only begun when he was given a short ball that was too big for him to avoid. His tenure in the side significantly damaged his reputation as a middle-order batsman, and it also badly damaged his standing as their wicketkeeper.

His shame was so evident that it was almost unbearable to see, as he dropped two easy chances against an otherwise competent Rauf while stationed there only because he couldn’t be hidden anywhere else. At last, he managed to make a simple grab, and Rizwan came over to congratulate him. It shouldn’t take much for Rizwan to be standing there indefinitely again.

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