Babar Azam’s Pakistan side suffered a humiliating whitewash in the three-match ODI series against a new-look English team earlier this month. They now have a chance to bury those demons and salvage some pride before leaving the English shores.
So far in the T20I series, both teams have won a game apiece to set up a decider in the final match. Pakistan will look to win the series on Tuesday (July 20) and end the tour on a high. England, on the other hand, will hope to continue their dominance in white-ball cricket.
Pakistan might stick to the same team combination as it worked well for them in the first T20I. The onus will be on Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan and Mohammad Hafeez to score the bulk of the runs in the batting department.
The Old Trafford ground in Manchester will host the last T20I of the series. So far, Pakistan have played four T20I games at this venue. They have managed to win two games and have lost one contest.
Pakistan edged out England by five runs in a nail-biting encounter at Manchester in 2020
The Pakistan team’s last T20I match at Old Trafford took place on September 1, 2020. It was the final T20I of the three-match series during Pakistan’s tour of England that year. The hosts were leading the series 1-0 at that juncture after winning the second T20I while the first match was washed out. As will be the case on July 20, Manchester hosted the series decider for this series.
Eoin Morgan won the toss and opted to field first on a batting paradise. Pakistan got off to a rocky start as they quickly their openers causing an early setback. Tom Curran clinched the prized wicket of Babar Azam by dislodging his stumps in the fifth over to reduce the visitors to 32/2.
Haider Ali (54 in 33 balls) and Mohammad Hafeez (86 in 52 balls) then joined hands to put up an impressive 100-run stand for the third wicket. They bailed their side out of trouble and provided the perfect platform for the finishers. Hafeez and Ali’s efforts helped Pakistan reach a competitive 190/4 in 20 overs.
In reply, Tom Banton (46) played aggressively and tried to keep the required run-rate under control in the huge chase. But the hosts kept losing wickets at the other end and were reduced to 69/4 in 7.5 overs. Moeen Ali (61 in 33 balls) then played a counter-attacking knock to give England some hope of getting near Pakistan’s total.
Sam Billings (26) and Ali arrested the flow of wickets for a while and stitched a 57-run partnership for the fifth wicket. However, Wahab Riaz (2/26) delivered a knock-out punch to the home side by dismissing both batsmen to turn the tides in favor of Pakistan.
Eventually, England reached 185/8 in 20 overs to give Pakistan a thrilling five-run victory. Hafeez deservedly won the Player of the Match award for his scintillating knock.