By Ayyaz Malik
An overall good performance with bat and ball helped England to a 14 run win over Pakistan in the first T20 international in Dubai. After winning the toss, the tourists couldn’t have got their chase off to a worse start as three wickets fell before 50 were on the board.
Pakistan who are captained by veteran Shahid Afridi were aggressive in their bowling to start with as Alex Hales, Jason Roy and Moeen Ali all fell early. Knowing that they were under the pump at this stage, England were in desperate need of a partnership to enable them to repair the early damage that was done by Pakistan’s opening bowlers.
A partnership they got as England captain Eoin Morgan and Hampshire captain James Vince went about rebuilding the tourists’ innings beautifully. The England pair put 76 for the fourth wicket, which was exactly what was needed after Pakistan’s electric start with the ball.
When James Vince was bowled by Wahab Riaz for a very well played 41. That loss of wicket brought a fifth wicket pair of Eoin Morgan and Kent wicket-keeper, Sam Billings. The fifth wicket pair put on a thrilling 64 for the fifth wicket.
The partnerships of Morgan and Vince, Billings and Morgan, enabled England to post a very respectable 160-5 in their 20 overs. One of the highlights of England’s innings was the explosive 53 off just 27 balls by Sam Billings, Pakistan must be sick of the sight of the English wicket-keeper-batsman.
After starting so well, Pakistan’s bowlers all endured punishment from England’s explosive batsmen. It was only Anwar Ali who could come out of England’s innings with any credit. Anwar managed to produce respectable figures of 1-19 off his four overs.
Chasing a gettable target, comsidering their batting line up, it was essential that Pakistan got their innings off to a good start. The hosts, however, got their innings off to the worst possible start as wicket-keeper batsmen Sarfraz Ahmed was dismissed early.
That dismissal set the tone for Pakistan’s disappointing innings which never really got going. When Pakistan were looking like they were going to build a partnership, a reckless shot or in Umar Akmal’s case a needless run out disrupted the flow of the home side’s innings.
The run out of Akmal, in particular, summarised all that was wrong with Pakistan’s run chase. Umar Akmal who was partnered by Shoaib Maqsood at the time was involved in a moment of chaos as both he and Maqsood ran to the same batting crease, which enabled a very soft dismissal via a run-out.
A run chase that was sadly doomed to start with, Pakistan were all out for 144 as England took a 1-0 lead in the series. Despite encouraging innings from Anwar Ali, Wahab Riaz and Umar Akmal ill discipline cost Pakistan dear.
England will be looking to carry on this winning sequence when the two teams face off again tomorrow at the same venue, Dubai. As for Pakistan, they will be looking to erase this from their memory and they will have that perfect chance to do that tomorrow.