A new-look England side have registered a comprehensive nine wicket victory over Pakistan, in the first one day international of the series, at Cardiff yesterday.
Despite fielding an inexperienced and depleted side, with five players making their debuts, England put on a marvellous display to bowl tourists Pakistan out for just 141, within 36 overs.
Stand-in captain Ben Stokes then saw his side knock of the total, with just 21.5 overs played and one wicket lost.
Pakistan before the game, talked about the extra work their analysts had to do, after England fielded a completely changed side after a COVID-19 outbreak.
Ben Stokes was hurried back from injury to captain the side, whereas debuts were handed to wicketkeeper John Simpson, all rounder Lewis Gregory, fast bowler Bryson Carse and batsmen Zak Crawley and Phil Salt.
Saqib Mahmood, who’s 4-42 was integral to the win, was only playing in his fifth ODI.
Craig Overton, who took 2-23, was playing only his second, whilst spinner Matt Parkinson, was making a third appearance.
Inexperienced or not, Mahmood got his side off to the perfect start.
The Lancashire seam bowler trapped Pakistan’s opener, Imam ul-Haq, LBW with the very first ball.
A platinum duck for the opener.
Mahmood then struck again two balls later as he removed Babar Azam for a duck.
Azam, the world number one ODI batter, lasting two balls as he edged to Zak Crawley at second.
Pakistan, 0-2 within the first over.
It went from bad to worse for the tourists as they were soon 23-4, with Mohammad Rizwan and Saud Shakeel managing just 13 and five respectively.
Number three batsmen Fakhar Zaman and new man in Sohaib Maqsood, tried to provide a rear-guard action for Pakistan to get them back in the game.
The pair put together a 53 run stand, before Maqsood was ran out after an embarrassing mix up.
Fakhar fell victim to Mahmood shortly after, as he was trapped LBW on 47.
Shadab Khan managed to hit 30 for 43 to try help his side to a more respectable total but couldn’t last the rest of the innings as he was caught by Dawid Malan, off the bowling of Overton.
Pakistan’s tail-end failed to wag as they slumped to 141 out.
England needing just 142 to win from their 50 overs.
Debutant Phil Salt opened with Dawid Malan, in what would turn out to be a simple chase for the hosts.
Salt started with intent, hitting a lovely drive for 4 early on.
But, if you live by the sword you die by the sword, and he soon edged behind to Maqsood in the slips, from a Shaheen Afridi delivery.
Salt walking back to the pavilion, with just 7 runs.
Malan and number three Zak Crawley held firm though as they chased down the target in just 21.5 overs, leaving over half the innings to spare.
Malan carried on his steady T20 form, with 68* (69), whilst Crawley hit a quickfire 58* (50), to reach 142.
This wrapped up a convincing win for an all-changed England team and will be giving selectors a thing or two to think about.
England lead the series 1-0, with the next match taking place tomorrow at Lords.