Friday, December 1, 2023

Phil Salt brings England back into series with magnificent 88 not out

Phil Salt brings England back into series with magnificent 88 not out
September 30, 2022 Web Desk

LAHORE (92 News) - Phil Salt’s blazing 88 not out at a strike rate of 214.63 delivered a crucial eight-wicket win –with 33 balls to spare - for England in the sixth match of the seven-T20I series against Pakistan.

This was England’s first win after two consecutive defeats. It levels the series 3-3 and effectively turns Sunday’s encounter into a final before the two teams depart Down Under to finalise their preparations for the all-important ICC Men’s T20 World Cup – that commences on 16 October.

Salt – who is vying for an opening berth alongside England’s regular captain Jos Buttler – had failed to fire in the series, but looked in prime form as soon as he, along with Alex Hales, crossed the rope to chase 170.

The England openers were sensational in the powerplay, smoking the Pakistan bowlers all around the park and had accumulated 50 by the end of the third over – with Salt on 26 off 10 and Hales having blasted 23 runs off just eight balls.

An astute introduction of Shadab Khan in the fourth over promised to turn the run chase on its head as the leg-spinner removed Hales on the fifth ball of the over that gave away only five runs, but Salt was unstoppable at the other end and dispatched Mohammad Nawaz for three fours and a six in the fifth over.

Malan then got two boundaries off Mohammad Wasim Jnr in the sixth over – one off the edge and the other through a beautiful drive through covers as England finished the powerplay with 82 for one.

Salt’s assault continued as he reached 50 in only 19 balls on the second ball of the seventh over – after having whacked Aamir Jamal, the hero of the previous T20I, for a four through covers on the previous ball.

With Malan providing support from the other end, Salt continued his onslaught. Malan was LBW in the 10th over off Shadab with England just 42 runs away from the target.

Ben Duckett, who has had a phenomenal series with the bat but couldn’t fire in the last match, ensured England’s run-rate never dropped and made 26 not out off only 16.

Salt finished with 13 fours and three sixes next to his name in his undefeated 41-ball innings.

Moeen Ali after winning the toss for the fifth time this series and opted to chase, having made two changes to his side with Mark Wood and Chris Woakes being replaced by Reece Topley and Richard Gleeson.

Despite a bad start to their innings with debutant Mohammad Haris and Shan Masood out by 3.2 overs, Pakistan, courtesy a fantastic 87 not out at a strike rate of 147 from Babar Azam, posted a respectable 169 for six.

Pakistan could muster only five runs in the first two overs and despite Haris – who replaced Mohammad Rizwan in the line-up – swatting Gleeson for a six over his head could not get going as the wicketkeeper was caught at short third-man, attempting a ramp.

Shan, shuffling across, was trapped LBW off David Willey and with Pakistan two wickets down for only 15 was when Babar decided to attack the visitors and smashed the left-arm fast bowler for two fours on the last three balls.

He carved Topley over backward point and Haider Ali spanked Gleeson for another four in the sixth as Pakistan finished the poweplay with the scorecard reading 40 for two.

As Haider started to look good, a short-ball from Sam Curran curtailed his stay in the ninth over that brought Iftikhar Ahmed in the middle. It seemed like Iftikhar had come with the intention of going after Adil Rashid.

He picked the leg-spinner’s googly with ease and dispatched it for a boundary between the long-on and deep mid-wicket fielders. The next Adil over – 12th of the innings – he clubbed the ball down the ground for a six. But the highlight of his innings came in the 14th over when he hit Adil for a gigantic six over deep mid-wicket that sent the jam-packed Gaddafi Stadium crowd in a frenzy and brought up Pakistan’s 100.

Iftikhar, 31 off 21, holed out to long-on off Curran in the 15th over, and the dismissal brought Asif Ali at the crease amongst a huge crowd roar.

Gleeson started the 16th with long-on and long-off up in what seemed like a challenge thrown to Asif to test his batting skills against short-pitched balls. Asif smashed Gleeson for a four over mid-on and two balls later Babar deposited the right-arm pacer over long-on to become the joint fastest, with Virat Kohli, to breach the 3,000-run mark in the format.

From this point, the fans were in for a Babar masterclass. The artful strokemaker beautifully worked a full toss over cover for a maximum in the 17th over. Pakistan gathered 19 in the last over, bowled by Topley, and it was Babar who provided the momentum – helping a slower bouncer to the fine-leg boundary on the first ball and drilling the ball in the slot over long-on for a six the next.

Mohammad Nawaz added six more to the total with a swat over mid-wicket on the penultimate ball and holed out to long off the final ball.

The seventh and final T20I will be played on Sunday.


Scores in brief:

Pakistan 169-6, 20 overs (Babar Azam 87 not out, Iftikhar Ahmed 31; Sam Curran 2-26, David Willey 2-32)

England 170-2, 14.3 overs (Phil Salt 88 not out, Alex Hales 27, Dawid Malan 26, Ben Duckett 26 not out; Shadab Khan 2-32)

Player of the match - Phil Salt (England)