Mercurial Pakistan show England up
Pakistan beat England by 14 runs at Trent Bridge yesterday as the World Cup’s first centuries from Joe Root and Jos Buttler were not enough to help the hosts and pre-tournament favourites overhaul the huge target of 349 set for them.
England had won the toss and put Pakistan in to bat, banking on the pace of fast bowlers Chris Woakes and Jofra Archer for early wickets and no doubt hoping to recreate the way the West Indies skittled Pakistan out for 105 on Friday.
Instead, the visitors put that woeful performance behind them and racked up 348 runs for eight wickets, delighting their cheering fans in the stands with 29 fours and six sixes.
Mohammad Hafeez was his side’s top scorer with 84 off 62 balls, while Babar Azam made 63 and captain Sarfaraz Ahmed belted a quickfire 55.
In reply, England steadily lost the wickets of their top-order batsmen Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Eoin Morgan and Ben Stokes to leave the side on 118 for four and give Root and Buttler a mountain to climb.
The two did their best, each eventually reaching three figures. Root hit 10 fours and one six on his way to 107 before scooping an easy catch off Khan to Hafeez at third man.
Buttler smashed a four to notch up his own hundred a few overs later, only to fall to the very next ball.
As the balls-remaining count dwindled, Moeen and Woakes swung valiantly at everything they could. But after they were both caught out in successive balls, Mark Wood and Adil Rashid were left stranded at the crease as the target slipped beyond their reach.
Earlier, Mohammad Hafeez missed out on becoming the first century-maker of the World Cup but a vastly improved Pakistan batting display left England facing a record chase at Trent Bridge.
The highest total made by any team batting second to win a World Cup match is Ireland’s 329 for seven against England in Bangalore in 2011.
Pakistan, however, failed to defend a score of 340 against England -- the world’s top-ranked ODI side -- at Trent Bridge last month.
“I think self-belief is the key,” said Hafeez during the break between innings. “We all know we can handle any situation but we played a couple of bad shots against (the West Indies).
“The pitch is holding up a bit and the spinners are getting turn and stoppage and there is a little for the seamers as well, so I think 348 is a good score,” he added.
Pakistan were undone by a barrage of bouncers against the West Indies and England, unsurprisingly, deployed similar tactics after captain Eoin Morgan won the toss, with their attack featuring recalled fast bowler Mark Wood.
But Pakistan coped well on a ground where England have twice set a world record for the highest one-day international total -- 444 for three against Pakistan in 2016 and last year’s 481 for six against Australia.
For all the talk about England’s quicks, it was off-spinner Moeen Ali who took the first three wickets Monday on his way to figures of three for 50.
By contrast, fast bowler Jofra Archer’s 10 wicketless overs cost 79 runs while Woakes, who equalled the record of four catches by an outfielder in a World Cup innings, took an expensive three for 71 in eight overs.