England skipper Eoin Morgan hit a 27-ball fifty (66) as they beat Pakistan by 5 wickets in the 2nd T20I at the Old Trafford in Manchester, taking a 1-0 lead in the 3-match series.
Pakistan’s Shadab Khan took two wickets in two balls to bring his side back in the game but captain Morgan pairing up with Dawid Malan (54*) put a 112-run 3rd wicket partnership to chase down a mammoth total of 196 with 5 balls to spare.
Earlier, Morgan won the toss and chose to field first. Pakistan started with a steady opening partnership with their skipper as well as the no. 1 batsman in the format Babar Azam and hard-hitting left-hander Fakhar Zaman. They put a 72-run opening stand in 8.3 overs before wrist-spinner Adil Rashid broke the deadlock. Zaman went for a well-made 36 but Babar, pairing up with veteran all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez kept the scoreboard ticking and completed his half-century (56).
However, it was Hafeez who showed the world that he can still be an MVP player for the T20 World Cup next year. The 39-year-old scored a brilliant 36-ball 69 to put a grand total on the board for his side.
Rashid was the pick of the bowlers for England, picking up two openers. Pacers Chris Jordan and Tom Curran also took a wicket each.
While chasing, England started off the innings in supreme fashion. Opener Tom Banton, who became the youngest English cricketer in the T20 format to score a fifty (in just 21 balls) in the last encounter before the match ended with no result due to rain, was not at his usual best in Sunday’s match. He departed for a 16-ball 20.
Wicket-keeper batsman Jonny Bairstow showed his class, scoring 44 runs from 24 balls. He hit four boundaries along with two maximum during his stay. However, captain Morgan stole the show from thereon. He scored a 33-ball 66 with a strike rate of 200, hitting six boundaries and four massive sixes.
England’s Mr. consistent Dawid Malan also stood by his side. He completed another T20I fifty before hitting the winning boundary.
Shadab Khan took 3 wickets for Pakistan while pacer Haris Rauf took another two as well.
The final encounter between both sides will take place on Tuesday.