Pakistan overcame hundreds from Joe Root and Jos Buttler to defeat England by 14 runs at Trent Bridge for their first points of World Cup 2019 on Monday. Pakistan had lost their opening match to West Indies in 3-and-a-half hours and were criticized severely by the likes of Rameez Raja and Shoaib Akhtar.
3 days later, it was a different Pakistan on the park. They still made mistakes. The dropped catches and the sloppy fielding left coach Mickey Arthur restless in the dressing room but a spectacular closing spell from Wahab Riaz meant Arthur had a wide smile on his face.
Pakistan did not win any of their last 12 ODIs so that many wondered if they had forgotten to win. In the end, it looked like Pakistan somehow remembered.
Chasing 349, England were in trouble after Shadab Khan snared Jason Roy in the 3rd over of the innings. Jonny Bairstow, who was dismissed for a first-ball duck in the tournament opener against South Africa, looked good for his 32 before he was done in by Wahab Riaz’s pace.
More misery awaited England when they lost skipper Eoin Morgan and Ben Stokes cheaply.
But over the last 4 years, England have shaped themselves into a fearsome batting unit. They feel no target is beyond them – no matter what the bowling attack and the condition. Before the World Cup started, England had said they would one day get to 500 off 50 overs.
On Monday, England were tasked with chasing the highest ever target in World Cup history and they were in a huge spot of bother at 118 for 4 off 21.2 overs.
And then Jos Buttler joined Joe Root. Two very different batsmen with a single agenda: 349 off 50 overs.
England had the better of Pakistan 4 times in a recent high-scoring ODI series and were obviously confident.
Pakistan had, however, every reason to believe they were on top at that stage before Buttler rattled them with some explosive strokeplay. Joe Root played second fiddle but that was only because he knew how important his wicket was at that stage.
Joe Root hit the 1st hundred of the 2019 Cricket World Cup and shared a 130-run stand off 17.3 overs. When Root fell to Shadab Khan in the 39th over, England were still in the game because Buttler was playing like there was no tomorrow.
The sharply increasing run rate was way too much for even the talented duo of Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes as Pakistan finally notched up victory after losing their last 11 completed ODIs.
Earlier, Eoin Morgan won the toss and asked Pakistan to bat first on a Trent Bridge pitch known to produce high scores.
Pakistan were widely trolled after they folded for their shortest innings in World Cup history against West Indies in their World Cup 2019 opener on Friday. Former Pakistan cricketers fumed at the lack of fight from Sarfaraz Ahmed’s men. But it all changed on Monday against England.
On a pitch famous for its high-scoring games, Pakistan’s batsmen found their groove. Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman got off to a great start. Neither man was scared of playing his shots and as a result, England were a little taken aback.
The introduction of off-spinner Moeen Ali changed the equation a bit. He first removed Zaman for 36 after his 82-run opening stand with Imam. Ali then proceeded to have Imam wonderfully caught by Chris Woakes.
Unlike Friday, Pakistan were willing to keep coming hard at England. Babar Azam and Mohammad Hafeez shared an 88-run stand for the 3rd wicket in quick time before Babar became Moeen Ali’s 3rd victim.
Hafeez looked like he could become the first centurion of the 2019 World Cup but he was done in by Mark Wood. Sarfaraz Ahmed played timed the ball sweetly and ran well to hit 55 off 44 as Pakistan finished with 348 for 8, their second highest score in World Cup history.