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Old Trafford supports spin but the wicket for the 3rd T20I supported spin more than the expectations of English skipper Eoin Morgan even as he had to acknowledge that the ball won’t turn as much as it did in Old Trafford yesterday. A series that was set up like an examination of English batsmen against spin must remain a memory of some good days for England cricket and as they have won the T20I series as well as the challenge of batting well against spinners.
England contains Pakistan under the par score
Babar Azam made the right call to bat first after winning the toss but at the end of the inning when the scoreboard read; 154/6 in 20 overs, everyone knew that Pakistan is short of at least 20 runs. Why was it so?
Pakistan had reached 50 in 6 overs at the loss of just Babar Azam, who got stumped out after being deceived by a googly of Adil Rashid. Sohaib Maqsood looked threatening as he has always been but once Rashid removed both Maqsood and Hafeez in his second over, England had everything to cheer about.
Fakhar Zaman got some runs against the leggie, Adil Rashid, but Morgan brought Moeen and Livingston from both ends to stop the flow of runs from the left-hander. Fakhar kept waiting, stopped himself from playing any bad short but on the first delivery of the 16th over, Moeen Ali broke the defences of Fakhar Zaman as the left-handers got out lbw against the off-spinner. Moeen gave just 19 runs in his 4 overs for 1 wicket.
Mohammad Rizwan, who scored 74 off 57 in the match, accelerated at the back end while Hasan Ali also dealt in boundaries for his short stay, but the team could score just 154 in 20 overs, thanks to a wonderful display of spin bowling in the middle overs and some quality death bowling by Jordan and company.
Jason Roy’s knock helps England come over the line
When Jason Roy hit Shaheen Afridi for 4 fours in the second over of the inning, it looked as if England is in the hurry to lift the series trophy but strangely, Jos Buttler had an off day. Despite sharp contrast, both openers succeeded to reach 67 in 8 overs. Roy played almost everything from the sweep, slog sweep, reverse sweep to switch hit. 6 out of his 12 fours came against spinners.
When Fakhar Zaman caught Jason Roy’s catch at the long-off, England had scored 60% of the runs with almost half of the overs and 8 wickets still in the bank. In the absence of Jason Roy, after just 5 overs, hosts were under pressure as there were 39 runs required of 24 while the ball was spinning and turning. A failure meant a series defeats against the visitors. Jason Roy played a match-winning knock of 64 off 36 in the 3rd T20I
In the 17th over, Hafeez kept the batsmen in check but conceded 2 fours. Hasan Ali bowled three dot balls after he was hit for a six on the long leg by Eoin Morgan. Another six off the last ball brought the equation to 16 off 12.
When Liam Livingston came at no.7 after Dawid Malan got bowled after a resistive knock of 31
off 33, England needed just 12 off 8. A six followed by the dismissal of Liam meant Hasan Ali had to defend 6 in the last over. When Jordan played the 4th ball of the last over towards the long leg fielder and turned back for the second run, Pakistan had gone short of runs.
Victory under testing conditions for England
England played against India but they could not get the type of wickets UAE will certainly have on offer when the 16 best cricket playing nations will compete for ICC T20 World Cup 2021 trophy in October-November this year. Recently, when Sri Lanka visited England, their batting wasn’t challenged and English skipper, Eoin Morgan, had hoped that Pakistan may challenge England on spin-friendly tracks of the hosts.
The wickets we witnessed in this series were too spin-friendly and Morgan was happy after the series victory that they had achieved and experienced what their side required as a unit, as England isn’t that good on spin-friendly tracks. Pakistan on the other hand, must be concerned and worried more than they were when they landed in the UK.
England team selection is not easy
England have almost every area covered and they bring a quality side in this year’s T20 world cup. After this great victory over Pakistan in these testing conditions, they must be confident of coming as the favourites for the trophy. The inclusion of Liam Livingston provides them with a versatile cricketer who can play any role at any position and leg spins the cricket ball as well as off spins it. They have discovered Matt Parkinson, the world saw how good Saqib Mahmood is and people are still talking about the wonders of England’s bench. But this doesn’t make England’s team selection an easy job, it makes it difficult than ever.
England comes up with the idea of picking the players on the basis of pitches and conditions. As the T20 world cup is in UAE, Morgan backs Dawid Malan despite of his quiet Pakistan series. Dawid Malan, the world’s number one T20 batsman had a disappointing series against Pakistan and his longer bad streak can pave the way for any other player as England is already facing the problem of many contenders. Eoin Morgan stands behind the world’s no.1 T20 batsman as Malan’s temperament, technique and game suit UAE conditions. Therefore, we can hope that Malan will be there in the XI.