Morgan, Archer star in England T20I win over Pakistan
CARDIFF – An unbeaten half-century from England captain Eoin Morgan and a brilliant T20I debut for Jofra Archer ensured England overcame Pakistan by seven wickets in Cardiff.
Archer took 2/29 as England restricted their opponents to 173/6, the newly qualified Englishman dismissing both of Pakistan’s set batsmen in the same over. Morgan’s 29-ball 57* then shepherded his side to victory over the MRF Tyres No.1 ranked side in the format, with a crunching straight six securing the match in the final over.
Having won the toss and elected to bat, Pakistan lost Fakhar Zaman (7) early to a stunning Morgan catch, and No.3 Imam Ul-Haq (7) became Archer’s first victim in T20Is in the fifth over, edging a wicked bouncer behind to Archer’s fellow debutant Ben Foakes.
MRF Tyres No.1 ranked T20I batsman Babar Azam then began to find a lovely rhythm alongside new batter Haris Sohail, the pair adding 101 for the fourth wicket. Babar brought up his half-century by hitting consecutive sixes off Joe Denly (0/15), who was hauled off after his over and not brought back into the attack.
England lost T20I debutant Ben Duckett (9) to Shaheen Shah Afridi (1/35) in the third over as he looked to clear cover with an ambitious drive, and James Vince fell for a well-made 27-ball 36 in the ninth, both batsmen effectively auditioning for a potential spot in the England side in this summer’s home Men’s Cricket World Cup.
Joe Root and Eoin Morgan then took responsibility in the middle, the latter taking a more aggressive approach while Root rotated strike in typically efficient style before clipping one to the keeper as he attempted to scoop, gifting Hasan Ali (1/42) his only scalp.
A crucial 44-run stand for the fifth wicket then ensued, as Denly provided Morgan with solid company for the chase, quelling any threat of a late Pakistan insurgence.
Morgan carried on his assault, clubbing three sixes and five fours in his excellent unbeaten knock of 57 not out, and some late hitting from Denly (20*) helped England reach their target with four balls remaining.
England and Pakistan now face off in a five-match ODI series commencing on 8 May.