England captain Eoin Morgan led from the front as the hosts beat Pakistan by five wickets to win the second Twenty20 international at Old Trafford on Sunday. Morgan came in on a hat-trick after leg spinner Shadab Khan cut the home side, who were on the hunt for a stiff 196 victory goal, to 66-2. But Irishman and fellow left-handed Dawid Malan (54 not out) took the game away from tourists with a third wicket score of 112. Victory with five balls left saw the 50-over world champions 1-0 in a run of three matches after Friday’s result in Manchester marred by the rain.
The cause of the traveling match was not helped when veteran left arm speedy Mohammad Amir limped after bowling just two overs with what appeared to be a hamstring injury.
Jonny Bairstow and Tom Banton got off to a good start to the English pursuit.
But a 66 partnership ended when, at 44, Bairstow tricked a sweep-off leg spinner Shadab Khan into a short, fine leg.
The next ball, with the batsmen crossed, Banton – fresh off making 71, his first fifty at this level, was lbw for 20 after missing a sweep.
Morgan survived the hat-trick delivery but could have been an lbw for a second ball duck to Shadab, who finished with nice numbers of 3-34 from his maximum four overs.
But a tight umpire’s decision after Martin Saggers’ original not-out decision went in the batsman’s favor.
Morgan cut Iftikhar Ahmed for a daring six over a long time before cutting the spinner for four late.
His fourth six, left arm fast bowler Shaheen Afridi, saw Morgan go to a 27-ball fifty that also included three fours.
By the time he got out on paceman Haris Rauf, England needed a run-a-ball to win.
Malan might have missed this game had England not set up separate teams with red and white balls in a coronavirus-stricken season, with hitters such as Test captain Joe Root and Jos Buttler out of the series.
But his 35-ball half century was his seventh score of fifty or more in just 12 Twenty20 internationals, and Malan finished the match when he cleared Afridi for four.
Previously, Pakistan made 195-4 with fine fifties from experienced batsman Mohammad Hafeez (69) and skipper Babar Azam (56).
Leg spinner Adil Rashid took 2-32 of his maximum four overs, but the rest of England’s attack lacked penetration, with sailor Tom Curran giving up 46 runs, including 23 to one over.
Babar, the world‘s top-ranked Twenty20 batsman, pulled the first ball of the game from fast bowler Saqib Mahmood for four.
He went into his fifties with an excellent ride with extra coverage from Rashid – his seventh four in 37 balls.
But Rashid had his revenge when Babar missed an attempt at deep midwicket.
Hafeez kept the runs, with a scooped four off Mahmood that saw him to a 26-ball fifty before the 39-year-old was sent off from the penultimate ball of the innings.
This series, which, like all international cricket in England this season, will be played behind closed doors due to COVID-19, will close on Tuesday at Old Trafford.
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