Pakistan skipper Babar Azam, who scored a career-best 158, rued his team’s inconsistent bowling and poor fielding which he reckoned didn’t help the team’s cause in the third and final ODI of the series. On the other hand, Ben Stokes was ecstatic with the win and stated ENG played fearless cricket.
When a team gets whitewashed, not one but many things go wrong. For Pakistan, while they just didn’t turn up at all in the first two ODIs, failing miserably with the bat, in the final game their batting came to the party but the bowlers messed it up. There was a point in time when the Men in Green were in a commanding position having reduced the hosts to 165 for 5 in the chase of 332. However, they let their guard down with the bowlers failing to exhibit a killer instinct and that helped James Vince and Lewis Gregory add 129 for the sixth wicket and help the Three Lions to a memorable win.
Babar Azam, despite making 158, and propelling Pakistan to a decent score, couldn’t end up on the winning side. After the game, he regretted the way the bowlers performed and wasn’t impressed with the side’s fielding as they dropped three catches including Imam’s misjudgement in the 27th over of the game when he gave Gregory a lifeline, which ultimately proved costly.
“We couldn’t bowl in the channels consistently at the start and the sloppy fielding didn’t help either. England were really good and special credit to James Vince. In international cricket the margins are very small and these kinds of errors cost us the game. We want to come up with a better plan for the T20Is and learn from our mistakes,” Babar stated in the post-match presentation.
England’s stand-in-skipper Ben Stokes was in awe of his side and reflected on the fearless style of their play, which was ever-present even in the absence of their top players.
“All the efforts from all the guys who turned up last week, I just want to say a massive thanks to the players, support staff and everyone who made this possible. The normal personnel, a huge amount of credit must go to Morgs, Silverwood and Trevor Bayliss to allow the new guys to play the way they play and be really happy. This is a culture that we try to create, allow the guys to go out there and play fearless cricket,” Stokes stated.
Ahead of the series, seven personnel from the English dressing room had tested positive for COVID forcing the ECB to pick as many as six players who had never even played international cricket. But, it turned out well, as the Three Lions dominated Pakistan even with their second-string side. Stokes added that it was great to see so many new players coming up the ranks.
“The most pleasing thing to me is no-one seems to be affected by the situation. We got so many good players coming through and we got a few guys looking over the shoulder and overall happy with the series win.”
Now both teams will lock horns in a three-match T20I series, that starts from June 16 in Nottingham.