England seal ODI series white wash against Pakistan despite Babar Azam blitz
LONDON – Despite a career-best 158 from Babar Azam, Pakistan were unable to take out the third ODI against England.
Sent out to bat, Pakistan finished with what looked a competitive total of 331/9 thanks to Babar's century and fifties from Imam-ul-Haq (56) and Mohammad Rizwan (74).
Unfortunately for the tourists, it did not prove enough as England chased down the target with two overs
Pakistan's innings got off to a less than ideal start when Saqib Mahmood (3/60) had Fakhar Zaman (6) caught in the cordon for six. A patient 56 off 73 from Imam in a 92-run stand with Babar helped Pakistan build a solid platform, but when the opener fell in the 26th over the tourists were only 113/2, scoring at a slow 4.34 per over.
With Rizwan's arrival, Pakistan went up a gear. The keeper and the skipper put on 179 runs in just 20 overs before Rizwan fell for 74 off 48 to Brydon Carse (5/61) in the 46th over. Having taken 72 balls to score his first 50 runs, Babar only needed another 32 deliveries to bring up his ton, and another 30 from there to race to 150.
By the time he perished in the 50th over to Carse, who finished with figures of 5/61, he had blazed 158 runs off 139 balls, hitting 14 fours and four sixes along the way.
The early fall of Dawid Malan (0) to Hasan Ali (1/69) gave Pakistan plenty of reason to hope and they remained in the contest right until the death, with England seven down when they still needed another 29 runs to win.
Batting with typical aggression, England raced past 50 in the opening six overs thanks to a quickfire 37 off 22 from Phil Salt, who perished to Haris Rauf (4/65). The best of Pakistan's seamers on the day, Rauf picked up a second in the 13th over when he bowled Zak Crawley for 39, but by that stage, England had marched to 104/3.
It was a theme the first half of the innings followed continually, with Pakistan taking regular wickets but England aways ahead of the required run rate. By the 24th over the hosts were 165/5, with Ben Stokes (32) and John Simpson (3) both falling to Shadab Khan (2/61).
However, with Vince in the middle, England's innings still had a source of stability. The right-hander had made his way to 48 off 43 by the time Simpson fell and in Gregory he found a partner for the long haul.
The pair put on 129 runs for England's sixth wicket, with Vince raising his ton off 91 balls, while Gregory raced to 77 off 69, with six fours and three sixes.
With the duo in the middle, the chase looked well and truly under control, but Rauf opened the door for Pakistan in the 43rd over, removing Vince for 102. The 30-year-old departed to warm applause from the crowd having hit 11 fours in a key innings.
Rauf struck again in his next over to dismiss Gregory to leave a Pakistan victory firmly on the cards. Alas, it was not to be as Craig Overton (18*) and Carse (12*) saw the hosts home. –ICC