England beat Pakistan to win T20 international series – as it happened

Chris Jordan stroked home the winning runs as series was secured in the final over at Old Trafford

Related: Chris Jordan hits winning runs as England clinch thrilling Pakistan series

Related: Jonny Bairstow poised for return to England’s Test squad to face India

Player of the series: An equally blond Liam Livingstone, grinning like a happy evangelical. “My six hitting I’ve worked really hard on in the last couple of years.” The interviewer asks if the hairstyle is lucky. “That’s the problem, maybe Jase and I will have to keep it.”

Babar can barely be heard in the chorus of vuvuzelas that greets his interview. He says he is pleased by the team’s fight but they were perhaps 15 runs short.And he thanks all their supporters.

A word about Pakistan. They came back from a flaccid performance in the ODIs, to fight tooth and claw, as befits their top-four T20 status and freshness from the PSL. Mohammad Hafeez nearly swung it with his three wickets, and the glory could have been Hasan Ali’s had Morgan been caught in his final over. Their supporters can drum home happy after a gloriously sweaty and manic night at Old Trafford.

The player of the match is a bleached Jason Roy, who jogs to the presentation in his sliders.

Did Malan do enough?. I think so. It wasn’t an easy pitch - even Jos Buttler struggled, and Rizwan wasn’t at his fluent best - and he played the lynch-pin role.

England's World Cup top 7 seems simple: Ben Stokes in at 3 (he's done well opening in the IPL) for Malan, then using Moeen, Morgan and Livingstone flexibly at 5-6-7 depending on match-ups and how to maintain a left-right split

What a brilliant end to a superb T20 series!! Well played Pakistan, well played England! A game that had it all - nerve-tingling tension, a full house, a fizzing pitch, sixes - chapeau Liam Livingstone - and a scrap to the very end.

19.4 overs: England 149-6 (Willey 0, Jordan 4) What a night! An absolute thriller. Morgan is dropped the ball before he is out. Then Jordan squeezes an inside edge off Hassan Ali and with two balls remaining gets a bottom edge which he squeezes behind the stumps! He scampers through the second and dances a jig of delight!

Holed out to mid-on!

19th over: England 149-6 (Morgan 19, Jordan 0) A thick edge to third man goes for a single. Malan gets lucky with a bobbling misfield on the boundary, before the wicket - we’ll discuss his World Cup place later. OMG!!! Livingstone gets down on one knee and sweeps him the greatest aplomb you’ve seen into the party stand for six. He tries again next ball and perishes. Six needed from six.

“Captain my captain” taps Colum Fordham. “If ever there was a time for a captain’s innings from Morgan, this is the moment you feel. Brilliant match and I’ve been impressed with Shadab, Imad and the elderly statesman Hafeez who have turned the screws on england. Should we have sent Livingstone up the order?”

He comes a cropper! An outside edge, high and straight to third man.

Gave himself room, hit the top of leg stump, skidded through. Arghghg! In comes Livingstone to his home crowd.

18th over: England 139-4 (Morgan 18, Malan 28) Babar turns to Hasan Ali. But he misses his yorker and it’s SIX! Morgan eyeing up, picking up, and lofting into the crowd, just past the leaping fielder. He can’t score from the next two. A slower ball, oh so clever, that Morgan can’t get bat on. He raises his hand in apology to Malan. OH - and that is glorious, another pick up n six. England need 16 from 12 balls.

17th over: England 126-4 (Morgan 6, Malan 27) Two boundaries! A desperate whallop through midwicket by Malan - they all count. Then Morgan steps away and wipes the ball through the covers. 29 needed from 18 balls.

16th over: England 116-4 (Morgan 1, Malan 22) Just four from Shadab’s over - would muscle be better here for England than age and experience. Livingstone fiddling his thumbs in the pod.

After 16 overs, Pakistan had exactly the same score!

@tjaldred Tanya, any idea why Roy has never featured in the IPL? Seems bizarre, the boy is box office.

15th over: England 109-3 (Moeen 0, Malan 17) Tension starts to groan, three from the over and the wicket! In strolls Morgan with a smile on his face.

England need 43 from 30 balls. Game on!

Moeen decides on the old heave-ho, dancing down the pitch in his orange boots, hits thin air and is bowled neck and crop.

14th over: England 109-3 (Moeen 0, Malan 17) Smashing over from Imad, who beats Malan’s outside edge with a ball to die for. Malan fights back with a reverse-sweep to the boundary. Just five from the over. The vuvuzelas are singing, cicadas in the meadow.

The Cricket Magnolia website!” bounces Andrew Benton “with photos, looks rather pioneering.”

Nicely taken in the finger tips by Maqsoon, stepping, then leaning backwards, arms above his head. Another slog that went high rather than long.

13th over: England 104-2 (Bairstow 5, Malan 12) We pause, for a pitch invasion by a young kid I think. So many happy faces in the crowd on this hot, hot evening as the sun starts to slip towards the horizon. They fancy a reverse-sweep but it doesn’t make the boundary. A nice fight-back by Hafeez

Those vuvuzelas are unbearable, I had to turn the cricket off. They should be banned from the grounds.

12th over: England 99-2 (Bairstow 3, Malan 9) No boundaries off Hafeez, but the tick-tock of five singles.

11th over: England 94-2 (Bairstow 0, Malan 7) Pakistan’s fielding, so good at Trent Bridge, slips and slithers, and this time it’s Hasnain who is done by the mischievous spin on the rope. Roy repeats the shot, another sweep, hard and fast, another boundary. Then the wicket! Too late for Pakistan? England need 61 from 54.

A rush of blood and safely collected with both hands by Fakhar at long off! Marvellous by Roy, 64 off 36 balls, though he’s furious and curses to himself on the walk back.

10th over: England 83-1 (Roy 56, Malan 4) Roy sweeps Shadab for four to reach his fifty, beads of sweat decorate his forehead and he sticks up a thumb in appreciation. Brutal batting. An edge for four follows as Malan picks up a couple.

After ten overs, Pakistan were 73-3.

9th over: England 72-1 (Roy 47, Malan 2) Malan needs runs, he’s had a ropey series, just one and one in his previous two innings. He manages to top his best score with a couple of singles off Usman Qadir. Crunch time now, we’ve hit the mid-innings lull.

8th over: England 67-1 (Roy 44, Malan 0) Can Shadab switch the narrative? Ah, he nearly does as Buttler hoiks a huge turning ball high into the air, and Maqsood gets nowhere near. Teapots from Pakistan. Babar wasn’t going to make a mistake from the last ball. Buttler never looked in good touch today.

Superbly taken by a fired-up Babar who hurls the ball into the turf, after Buttler skies the ball to long-off.

7th over: England 51-0 (Roy 34, Buttler 10) It’s the new boy, the leggie, and he doesn’t have a first over to remember, as Buttler suddenly discovers his touch and reverse-pulls him to the boundary. Roy finds the boundary twice more as he rockets towards his fifty. England could win this in 15 overs.

6th over: England 45-0 (Roy 34, Buttler 10) Buttler is beaten by an on point Hasan Ali yorker, then is within a clothes peg of being caught behind. Eventually accepts the inevitable and gives Roy the strike. But even Roy is beaten, trying to ramp a ball and ends up doing the do-si-do. Ah, that’s more like it! An air-kissing on drive.

5th over: England 39-0 (Roy 29, Buttler 9) And the pattern continues: Roy blasting - over long on for a monstrous six, another swept for four - Butler poking at Imad - he gets a bottom edge which somehow just misses his stumps.

4th over: England 27-0 (Roy 18, Buttler 8) Shaheen Afridi is whipped off after that very expensive first over, and Babar turns to Hasan Ali. He sends down a wide to start, but then four dots, before Buttler swipes him for a couple. He tries to scoop the last but is befuddled by a slower ball. Excellent bowling. Buttler not timing the ball to his usual perfection

Hi Tanya, Hi Colum Fordham.

“Match beginning to become very tasty in sunny Old Trafford with Rizwan taking control and England’s spin trio testing the Pakistan batsmen. Just to add flavour, enjoying a multicultural supper with English friends featuring Indian dal, Sri Lankan fish fritters and Falafel made by a Pakistani family here in Naples. Oh, and crisps and beer.”

3rd over: England 24-0 (Roy 18, Buttler 6)Imad , hair slicked back behind a head band, slings the ball from hand to hand in approach. Buttler picks up his first boundary , with a full-wellied cover whatck.

2nd over: England 19-0 (Roy 18, Buttler 1) Shaheen Afridi takes the Statham End with his magnificent high hair. Humph, says Roy pinging him for four leg-side fours: Jason Roy - he loves a bit of pace.

Mark Hooper’s mind is on Mongolia,”I once visited Lake Hovsgol in Mongolia, which freezes so solid that trucks use it to drive from Siberia as it’s a smoother ride than the roads. One night we witnessed a truck driver dig a pit in the ice and light a fire under the truck’s fuel tank to stop it from freezing. Health and safety?”

1st over: England 3-0 (Roy 2, Buttler 1) Babar throws the ball to Imad and it is tidy. Just three singles

Zain Malik is optimistic: “There is still something in it for Bobby’s boys. Old Trafford has been generous to the English Spinners. Luckily Pakistan are following Ramiz Raja’s advice and have decided to experiment with two leggies. Shadab and Usman Qadir. Hassan Ali’s services will also be intrinsic. This is not much of a total but the battle is on. England’s game to lose.”

We’re off, again! Roy and Buttler march out.

“It’s a great wicket so bowl spin on,” says Moeen - there’s no escape for the players between innings. I’d guess this isn’t enough by Pakistan, but let’s see what their spinners can do. A nice innings from Rizwan, but he didn’t really have any support. Career best figures for Rashid and miserly from Moeen. Time for a quick drink, back in five mins!

20th over: Pakistan 154-6 (Hasan Ali 15, Rizwan 76) Rizwan is furious with himself after missing a full ball from Jordan. The next clears the fielders at cover peddling backwards but doesn’t cross the rope. The next, a 90mph yorker, scuffs Hasan Alis’ boots. He squeezes a single to the fourth. Rizwan then tries to ramp but is foxed by a beauty of a slower ball and can only pick two off the last.

19th over: Pakistan 149-6 (Hasan Ali 12, Rizwan 74) It’s Saqib with the penultimate over. That’s the way to do it! Hasan Ali gets off the mark with a tennis ball volley into the crowd where it is all too much for a crying baby. Slower ball spotted. The next is a wide, and called, but the next just wide enough. At the top of his mark, Chris Jordan offers his two penneth’worth. Hasan Ali isn’t going to die trying, throws the bat and ball flies off the top edge past Buttler for four.

One for the diary, on a sunny August Monday:

Membership Event: Summer of cricket, with Emma John and guests

18th over: Pakistan 135-6 (Hasan Ali 0, Rizwan 58) Just the one boundary, with big runs needed from the final two. Jordan 3-0--25-0

Off he goes, shaking his head, but he’s only got himself to blame I’m afraid after strolling between the wickets with the urgency of a cow at pasture. Smart throw by Bairstow and great take and dispatch by Jordan.

17th over: Pakistan 125-5 (Imad Wasim 0, Rizwan 58) Rashid throws it up and Rizwan says thank you, dances to meet it and sling-shots it into the crowd. But after that they can’t get after him, and the frustration shows in Shadab’s hopeful hoe towards the boundary. Tasty figures from Rashid: 4-35.

Shadab needs to have a go, but he sends it high rather than long with the heel of the bat and Livingstone snaffles it, straight out of the sun.

16th over: Pakistan 116-4 (Shadab 1, Rizwan 58) The end of Moeen’s spell and they’ve not been able to get him to the rope. He’s ripped it out of dusting pitch. Excellent stuff. Pakistan now need to get that ball into the green shirts in the crowd.

The umpire originally says no to a straight ball that seems to hit Fakhar’s bat pad. Moeen is very keen, persuades Morgan, and he’s right! Top of middle.

15th over: Pakistan 113-3 (Fakhar 24, Rizwan 56) Pakistan kept quiet again as spin, this time through Livingstone, does the business again for England. Stuart Broad stares at the pitch, hmmm he says, this isn’t going to be an easy pitch to score on.

Hi @tjaldred.

Why do so few pacers use the depth of the crease (as do batsmen)? Bowling the odd ball from 22 yards changes pace, trajectory, length and messes with the batsmen's timing.

Robert Croft liked a few delivered from alongside the umpire, but no seamer I know of.

14th over: Pakistan 104-3 (Fakhar 21, Rizwan 50) The lime-green shirts are wary of going after Moeen, especially after his first ball spits past Rizwan’s bat. Just seven from the over. Not as fluent as he sometimes is but a great innings by Rizwan.

13th over: Pakistan 101-3 (Fakhar 19, Rizwan 49) Here comes Livingstone with his this-ways-and-that. Poor Malan is thwarted down on the rope by a ball which spins further and further away from his grasping hand and runs away for four. Don’t think about it Dawid, though difficult when you’re being reminded by a crescendo of vuvuzelas.

“A propos of not much,” ponders Damian Clarke. “Mongolia is home to the endangered two-humped Bactrian camel, and is also home to one-third of the world’s snow leopard population. Its capital, Ulaanbaatar, is officially the world’s coldest capital city. You’re welcome.”

12th over: Pakistan 91-3 (Fakhar 16, Rizwan 42) Brilliant from Moeen, weaving a web: his figures now read 2 overs, 0-9

11th over: Pakistan 87-3 (Fakhar 14, Rizwan 40) Pakistan decide they’re going to have to go after Rashid. And they do! Fakhar sweeps him for four, nearly decapitating the umpire before letting rip with a huge six, the big bopper, into the stands.

10th over: Pakistan 72-3 (Fakhar 0, Rizwan 39) It’s Moeen Ali, fresh from his success of the other night. Pakistan are playing the singles and a diving Rizwan just beats the throw. Nice from Moeen, just four from it.

9th over: Pakistan 69-3 (Fakhar 0, Rizwan 35) What a bowler Rashid is: two overs three for 12. It would be so disappointing if Pakistan crumble here in front of huge support. Oh, and this is lovely, we see a fellow go down on one knee in the Party Stand, and she says yes!

Hafeez has a lack-lustre pull at a drag down from Rashid and it was never going to clear the long boundary

Maqsood can’t resist the toffee and manages only to send the ball straight to the waiting Roy at long-on.

8th over: Pakistan 67-1 (Maqsood 13, Rizwan 35) The man of the moment, the bleached Liam Livingstone, has his first go of the evening. And through a puff of dust, Rizwan shuffle-shuffles, greets the ball up, and sends it soaring over cover. Four byes also beat the batsman, and keeper.

7th over: Pakistan 56-1 (Maqsood 11, Rizwan 30) Better from Jordan, just a handful of singles. A yorker breaks the bottom of Rizwan’s bat and the twelfth man is sent out with a selection of new ones.

“What do you think Pakistan will need to post?” asks John Ryan. “Looking at England’s line up I’d be thinking 180 plus...”

6th over: Pakistan 50-1 (Maqsood 8, Rizwan 27) Superb by Rashid to get Babar who just wanted to throw open the windows. Maqsood is off the mark with a cover-drive skimming the grass to the boundary and then an ugly but effective leg-side bit of agricultural heritage. And ignore what I said previously, there are 22,000 at OT - the biggest crowd for any event in Manchester in 18 months.

Foiled by the googly, way out of his crease, and Buttler neatly clops the bails off.

5th over: Pakistan 40-0 (Babar 11, Rizwan 26) Saqib’s back and Rizwan greets him with the most nonchalant six, a rockstar’s toss of the T-shirt into the crowd. Singles make up the rest of the over. My dog has crept behind the sofa to soak up the coolness of the wall. Oh for such a wall in the party stand.

4th over: Pakistan 29-0 (Babar 9, Rizwan 16) Incidents, incidents: Jordan bowls his first over and Babar has a wild slash and ball flies past the grasping, diving, glove of Buttler to the boundary. Then a top edge which flies high and Roy, battling blue skies, shadows and a swirling wind, can’t get the measure of it.

Broad thinks that bowling in the power play isn’t CJs best suit.

3rd over: Pakistan 20-0 (Babar 3, Rizwan 15) Willey again, penny-pinching again, until the fifth which Rizwan swings and hits - up, up and over for six.

“Hello Tanya,” Hello Andrew Benton!

2nd over: Pakistan 11-0 (Babar 1, Rizwan 9) The brilliant Mahmood bowls four dots to start the over, this free-scoring duo will be itching for a swing. And here it comes, a four whipped by Rizwan off his hips for four, and the next, just a touch wide by Saqib and is nudged fine.

1st over: Pakistan 3-0 (Babar 1, Rizwan 1) An absolute wall of noise greets Babar and Rizwan - maybe I was wrong about the fullness of the crowd, hard to tell from the tv pictures. A parsimonious over, a run to third man for Rizwan, then a single to Babar after the ball bobbles on Roy. Then, what seems a regulation catch behind to Buttler, but it comes off the thigh pad. Great start by Willey.

David Willey has the ball....

Out come England, through the (entirely pointless) shoots of flame, shortly followed by Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan.

I believe it is raining in London. Look at this sky and weep. David Lloyd predicts that the pitch will have good pace, good carry and plenty of cracks so it might spin, might slow, in the second half of the match.

Pakistan fans have arrived at @lancscricket in style #ENGvPAK pic.twitter.com/Dml1UdcCqF

An email pings in from Babar Mumtaz:

“There may be fewer Pakistanis in the ground because it IS Eid... A time to be with family (like Christmas... Not Boxing Day. Enjoy the match)“

In a county aside, as we’re at Old Trafford, Lancashire’s Alex Davies is to join Warwickshire on a three-year contract.

I heart Stuart Broad with a microphone - he’s bloody brilliant.

There’s no space for Jake Ball or Tom Banton - drinks carriers extraordinaire. Which you would guess, means their chances of making the final T20 WC squad are limited. Old Trafford isn’t full, but there is a glorious racket from the Pakistan horns and drums. I wonder if the pingdemic has had something to do with it - word of mouth would suggest that anyone who is about to head away on holiday is reluctant to go anywhere they might be contacted by track and trace.

Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Sohaib Maqsood, Mohammad Hafeez, Fakhar Zaman, Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Hassan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usman Qadir, Mohammad Hasmain.

Roy, Butler, Malan, Bairstow, Ali, Morgan, Livingstone, Willey, Jordan, Rashid, Mahmood.

Eoin Morgan is in a blue sun-hat. He thinks the wickets will take spin and reverse swing. Morgan returns, as does David Willey, and Tom Curran and Matt Parkinson miss out.

Babar wins his third toss of the series and will bat - the successful choice at Trent Bridge. Leggie Usman Qadir plays, as does Hasan Ali. Haris Rauf and Azam Khan carry the drinks.

Hasan Ali is available for selection for Pakistan. The toss is imminent.

Zain Malik is first in the box.

“There have been a total of ten T20is played at the Emirates Old Trafford and fortune has favoured the side which chases. Only twice has the side which bats first been victorious. Pakistan happens to be one of them. Mohammad Hafeez’s fireworks from last year’s final-ball thriller saw Pakistan post 190 which was just about enough to draw the series. There has never been a 200+ score at OT and today is the perfect day to change that. So far in this series the side which has won the toss has ended up on the receiving end. Crucial toss to win. All eyes on the coin. Should be a tough decision from the winning captain. On a side note, Eid Mubarik! This is set to be a series finale for the ages.”

A little reading about some new tournament that is apparently starting tomorrow.

Related: The Spin | The Hundred is here: everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask

Looks like the party has already started at Old Trafford:

The party has already started at Old Trafford #ENGvsPAK #Cricket pic.twitter.com/rfKttSmfpM

Hello there, on this sauna of a Manchester afternoon . Current temperature: oven-ready, scorching to the bottom of an unshod foot for this deciding game in the T20 series.

Admittedly though, I’m a wimp, and the PSL was played in temperatures hitting 40 degrees, so Pakistan may right this minute be deliberating the benefits of a long-sleeved sweater.

Ball of the century? @mattyparky96 #LVCountyChamp live: https://t.co/SyebMiubg3 pic.twitter.com/Wf93spCqz3

Continue reading...

Matt Parkinson takes chance to make up for lost time with England

  • Leg- spinner went on winter tour but was uncapped
  • Parkinson to face Pakistan at Old Trafford on Tuesday

Matt Parkinson endured some dark moments earlier this year when he was the sole England cricketer to undertake the entire three-month tour of Sri Lanka and India and earned zero caps for his troubles. But on Tuesday the effervescent Lancashire leg-spinner is poised to play a first international at his home ground of Old Trafford, with a Twenty20 series against Pakistan on the line and a chance to further his claims for a spot in England’s World Cup squad this October.

These were certainly advanced on Sunday when in tandem with fellow wrist-spinner Adil Rashid, and augmented by Moeen Ali’s previously lesser-spotted off-breaks, Parkinson helped bowl England to a 1-1 scoreline on a roasting hot afternoon at Headingley.

Related: Eoin Morgan ready to experiment in preparation for T20 World Cup

Continue reading...

England beat Pakistan by 45 runs in second T20 to level series – as it happened

Saqib Mahmood picked up three wickets as England cruised to victory

And here’s Babar Azam. He feels Pakistan let England get 20-30 too many, with the fast bowlers not at their best, and then they didn’t get enough momentum with the bat. Asked if he regrets his decision to chase, he says “No. We have been chasing well, but after the first six overs, we were not continuing our partnerships.” But he’s looking forward to the final match.

Aren’t we all, Babar? This has been a cracking series, and not content with amazing us by dishing up a lethal English spin trident, it is about to deliver something cricket has been missing all summer: a decider. That’s on Tuesday, 6.30pm, at Old Trafford, where the leggies will be licking their lips again.

Here’s Jos Buttler, with a broad smile on his face. “Really enjoyed it... Two very different leg-spinners, I thought they bowled really well in tandem. Parky especially bowled really well today after a tough-ish game at Trent Bridge for all the bowlers.”

The old lags in the commentary box are big Buttler fans. “I think he’s got an amazing ability,” Michael Vaughan says, “to read the game and be calm around the group.”

Amid all that spin, Saqib Mahmood also picked up three more wickets to add to his fine collection. “Three lads with Pakistani heritage,” says my colleague Ali Martin on Twitter, “bowling England to a win over Pakistan at Headingley. Superb.”

There’s going to be one question when the interviews take place. “Babar, well played, bad luck, but why did you decide to field first?” Headingley is usually a bat-first ground in T20 cricket. England read the pitch right and cleaned up as it got drier and drier in the sun. A Sunday roast.

So here are those astonishing figures. Adil Rashid, opening the bowling with his googlies, 2 for 30 off four overs. Moeen Ali, recovering well from a poor first over with his off-spin, 2 for 32 off three. Matt Parkinson, bowling super-slow leg-breaks and turning the ball sharply, 1 for 25 off his four. And it’s quite likely that none of them will be the Player of the Match, as all of this was a triumph for Jos Buttler, who also stroked the day’s only fifty.

20th over: Pakistan 155-9 (Shadab Khan 36, Haris Rauf 0) And that’s it. Curran bowls a tidy last over, under no pressure at all, so England win by 45 runs. They’ve been superb, and the spin triplets have been a revelation.

The only question is by how many runs.

19th over: Pakistan 154-9 (Shadab Khan 35, Mohammad Hasnain 0) Tasked with hitting nine sixes in a row, while somehow nicking the strike after three of them, Shadab at least managed one.

Yorked! The most interesting thing about this dismissal is that as Mahmood releases the ball, a black disc flips from underneath his feet. The crowd break into Sweet Caroline, which is fast becoming the signature tune of the whole of English sport.

Another flail, another catch, and now all Pakistan need is to hit the last nine balls for six.

18th over: Pakistan 145-7 (Shadab Khan 27, Shaheen Shah Afridi 2) Good to see some joy for Curran, who nearly blew this game for England when he ran out Liam Livingstone. There’s a pause for what seems to be a pitch invasion, possibly by a streaker – the BBC director doesn’t give them the oxygen of publicity. Pakistan need 56 off the last two overs, so they could hit every ball for four and still lose the match.

Tom Curran returns and digs his slower ball into this dry pitch, which is enough to turn Imad’s flailing pull into an easy catch to Roy at deep mid-on.

17th over: Pakistan 142-6 (Imad Wasim 20, Shadab Khan 26) At last Buttler relents and gives the Pakistanis something with a bit of pace on it. It’s Saqib Mahmood, mixing it up and managing a couple of dots among the ones and twos, but then going for six as Shadab gives him a good slap. This partnership is 37 off three overs, which is excellent in normal circumstances – but it leaves Pakistan needing 59 off the last three.

16th over: Pakistan 132-6 (Imad Wasim 17, Shadab Khan 18) It’s Rashid to bring us the 11th over of spin in this innings, the most England have ever bowled in a T20 game. Livingstone, the one spinner who hasn’t had a go yet, makes a fabulous flying stop at deep midwicket, drawing warm applause, but it doesn’t count as he planted a foot outside the rope – the first time he’s put a foot wrong this week.

15th over: Pakistan 120-6 (Imad Wasim 15, Shadab Khan 9) Moeen continues, but his luck runs out as Imad keeps on heaving him to cow corner and Shadab whips him for six. The required rate stays at 16, which is twice what they’ve managed so far.

14th over: Pakistan 105-6 (Imad Wasim 9, Shadab Khan 0) Imad had decided it was do-or-die, and belted Parkinson back over his head for six. Azam took the same view, with less success.

Azam survives a review for LBW but then dances, misses and can’t even begin to get back. And England’s spin triplets have five wickets between them.

13th over: Pakistan 96-5 (Azam Khan 1, Imad Wasim 1) Moeen’s first over was a dud, but his second has been a triumph: three runs, two wickets, one big smile on his face. Pakistan need another 105, at a daunting 15 runs per over.

Another one! Moeen sees Fakhar coming down the track, gets some drift into him and then turns it past the outside edge, smack into the off bail. Lovely stuff.

Moeen returns and his first ball is chipped straight to Bairstow, who doesn’t have to go anywhere this time. England’s surprise ploy, packing the side with spinners, is paying off handsomely.

12th over: Pakistan 93-3 (Mohammad Hafeez 10, Fakhar Zaman 7) Parkinson nearly adds another scalp to the leggies’ collection as Hafeez top-edges into the deep, but Jonny Bairstow can’t quite get there springing in from the rope. The last five overs have brought two wickets and 28 runs, and may well have won the match.

11th over: Pakistan 86-3 (Mohammad Hafeez 6, Fakhar Zaman 4) Fakhar Zaman is off the mark, but only with a nick for four that could easily have been out if the slip fielder had been Ben Stokes rather than Dawid Malan. Poor old Pakistan, they just don’t know what to do in the face of this English spin attack.

What. A. Catch. Rashid bowls a full toss, gets it back with interest from Rizwan, and somehow grabs it with his outstretched left hand. That’s the moment of the day so far.

10th over: Pakistan 80-2 (Mohammad Rizwan 36, Mohammad Hafeez 5) I can’t remember ever seeing this before: two leg-spinners bowling for England at the same time. And they’re so different – Rashid all about the googlies, Parkinson sticking to the leg-break and getting big turn. He beats the bat twice in this over. It’s like Warne and MacGill all over again, but for England!

9th over: Pakistan 76-2 (Mohammad Rizwan 35, Mohammad Hafeez 2) In comes Mohammad Hafeez, the oldest smiter in town, but Rashid is in the mood now and he concedes only six off his second over. That wicket means that England have their noses in front. Probably.

Rashid returns and strikes immediately! He drifts the ball past Maqsood’s outside edge and Buttler pulls off a stumping so smooth, it could be by John Simpson.

8th over: Pakistan 71-1 (Mohammad Rizwan 32, Sohaib Maqsood 15) It’s spin from both ends as Matt Parkinson replaces Mahmood. He’s the slowest of the four slow bowlers England have picked today. Maqsood tries to tuck in straightaway but his big mow just bnrings a single to Chris Jordan at long-on. Only six off the over.

7th over: Pakistan 65-1 (Mohammad Rizwan 28, Sohaib Maqsood 13) With the PowerPlay over, Buttler turns to Moeen Ali, which is not something Eoin Morgan has been inclined to do lately. Maqsood belts him for six and then nicks for four as Buttler continues the spurn that slip. Rizwan chips in with a late cut so extremely late that it could be one of Boris Johnson’s decisions. Fifteen off the over, so maybe Morgan had a point.

6th over: Pakistan 50-1 (Mohammad Rizwan 26, Sohaib Maqsood 1) Before the wicket, Babar lofted Mahmood over midwicket for four, one bounce over the rope, to bring up the fifty partnership. But then came the breakthrough, and Mahmood, who’s made his name in the past fortnight, might have a second wicket in the over if only Buttler had posted a slip, as Sohaib starts with a right old waft.

The big one! Mahmood bags his bunny for the third time as Babar mistimes a pull for once and gets a leading edge to mid-off, where Dawid Malan dives forward to take a fine catch.

5th over: Pakistan 43-0 (Mohammad Rizwan 26, Babar Azam 16) Tom Curran becomes the first person to bowl a two-over spell in this innings. He tries a bit of everything including a slower-ball bouncer, which Rizwan flicks for four by turning his bat into a periscope. He’s a genius in T20 cricket.

“Captain, opener and keeper is a heavy load for one (admittedly brilliant) man,” says David Ferguson on Twitter. “Couldn’t YJB have taken one or two of those roles off Jos’s shoulders?” Well, maybe not the captaincy, but yes it was puzzling to see Bairstow hand over the gloves.

4th over: Pakistan 35-0 (Mohammad Rizwan 20, Babar Azam 14) The Jordan experiment is over as Jos Buttler recognises that the man to bowl at Babar is Mahmood. He manages to calm things down for a minute – dot, dot – but then Babar unfurls another imperious four, on-driven on the up. Only six off the over: a minor triumph for Mahmood.

3rd over: Pakistan 29-0 (Mohammad Rizwan 19, Babar Azam 9) Rashid comes off straight away, to be replaced by Tom Curran. Babar Azam, delighted not to see his nemesis Saqib Mahmood, plays an imperious pull for four and then wiggles his wrists to make a leg glance go for two. Curran does manage to induce a false shot from Babar, a leading edge, but it just lollops into no-man’s-land. England badly need wickets, already.

2nd over: Pakistan 19-0 (Mohammad Rizwan 17, Babar Azam 1) Well, this is a surprise: the other new-ball bowler is Chris Jordan, whose skills are mostly reserved for the other end of the innings. And it doesn’t go well, as he gets flicked for six by Rizwan, who then squirts one past the keeper for four. Rizwan’s average in this format in 2021 is over a hundred. Ridiculous but true.

1st over: Pakistan 7-0 (Mohammad Rizwan 6, Babar Azam 1) It’s Adil Rashid, the senior of England’s two and a half leg-spinners, though he mostly bowls googlies these days. He manages two dots to Rizwan, who then decides that’s enough of that and goes big with a four over long-on. Babar, not to be rushed, waits for the ball and clips for a single. From his general demeanour, you would assume he was an English gent in 1934, spending his summer holidays playing for Sussex.

England started and finished badly, but in between they were sublime. Jos Buttler, back from another enforced absence, made a silky 59. Moeen Ali joined him with an innings of 36 spun out of something even finer than silk, and then Liam Livingstone came along and blasted his way to 38 like a coal-miner at a cocktail party. Pakistan have the momentum from the last few overs, but England have 200 on the board, so Babar Azam may not be able to afford the measured start he prefers. A lot will hinge on England’s battery of slow bowlers. See you in a few minutes.

20th over: England 200 all out (Mahmood 3) Matt Parkinson manages one fine shot, a waft over backward point for four, and then Shaheen finds a yorker to finish things off.

19th over: England 193-9 (Mahmood 1, Parkinson 1) Haris Rauf is on a hat-trick after those two wickets, but Matt Parkinson is equal to the challenge, pushing into the covers for a single. Still, Pakistan have bounced back strongly here.

Two in two! Adil Rashid, usually such a handy batter, opts to stand right outside off and therefore gets bowled, middle stump.

Another full toss, and this time Jordan picks out the man at deep midwicket. He did well enough, but England are paying a price for their long tail.

18th over: England 190-7 (Jordan 14, Rashid 1) Before the wicket, Curran had just managed to find the boundary, whipping Hasnain away to deep square. After it, Chris Jordan keeps the runs flowing with a glide for two and a wallop for four, followed by a couple of singles. Hasnain finishes with 3 for 51 off his four overs. Seven fours, one six, and only four dots: the kid is a crowd-pleaser.

A lofted slice to deep cover, and Hasnain has yet another wicket.

17th over: England 178-6 (T Curran 5, Jordan 7) Back comes Shaheen Shah Afridi: not the sight you want to see when you’re a tail-ender, but at least he hasn’t got any left-handers to torment. Curran, itching to atone for his blunder, manages a few shovels into the leg side and sharpens up his running. Then Jordan, spotting a full toss, helps it round the corner for six. Game on again.

16th over: England 165-6 (T Curran 1, Jordan 0) That over had begun so well. It was all down to Livingstone and he was fine with that, smiting a six and a four off Haris Rauf. Then he tried a ramp which went sideways, leading Curran to call for the run that proved fatal. And now the bowlers have to fiddle their way to 200.

Nooooo! The one thing you cannot do at this stage of the game is run out the main man, and Tom Curran has done it. He calls Livingstone for a very tight single, Livingstone dives, he almost gets a reprieve as the bowler dislodges one bail by accident with his hip, but the other one is removed in the proper manner, and England’s new star has to go.

15th over: England 154-5 (Livingstone 27, T Curran 1) So we’re down to the tail, with all due respect to the feisty Tom Curran, who’s not quite a No 7, unlike his little brother. He gets off the mark with a purposeful single, and Andy Zaltzman pops up to inform us that this is the highest-scoring T20 series of all time.

Another one! Bairstow goes big, looking for a six over long-off, but he doesn’t quite get hold of it and that’s a simple catch for Fakhar Zaman.

14th over: England 150-4 (Livingstone 26, Bairstow 11) In comes Jonny Bairstow, mysteriously demoted to No 6: maybe it’s a ploy to give him Something To Prove. His job at the moment is just to hand the strike back to Liam Livingstone, the new blaster on the block. But then Jonny sees something wide and helps himself to four through gully, followed by a beamer that he deftly flips for four more. The free hit is mistimed to midwicket, but still brings two.

Gone! Buttler, like Moeen, can’t get his lofted drive over mid-off, and Hasnain strikes again. That’s the end of a fabulous innings.

13th over: England 136-3 (Buttler 59, Livingstone 24) Livingstone is at it again, walloping Imad over long-off for six and out into the road. Imad strikes back with a couple of dots but then there’s a half-tracker which Buttler flays over extra-cover for six more. “Can’t tell you how hard that shot is to play,” says Jimmy Anderson. Have you tried, Jimmy?

The partnership is fifty already – 51 off 5.2 overs.

12th over: England 121-3 (Buttler 51, Livingstone 16) Buttler clips Shadab for a single and that’s his fifty. It’s taken 33 balls, with seven fours and a six, and it’s been exemplary: a real acting captain’s innings, holding the show together while still giving great entertainment. Livingstone belts Shadab down the ground for four, which prompts a series of wides and near-wides outside off, and England are flowing again.

11th over: England 110-3 (Buttler 49, Livingstone 11) Back comes Imad Wasim, the first contender for Player of the Match, and he adds to his credentials by going for only four off the over.

Here’s Tom van der Gucht, pondering an idol with feet of clay. “I used to love Vaughan. As a batsman in the 2002-3 Ashes when he stood tall in his moccasins. As the England captain throughout the glorious unbeaten summer of 2004 and the 2005 Ashes. Then, in the early days of his commentary, he seemed pithy, witty, knowledgeable, prescient. Yet he seems to recently have begun transforming into some sort of no-nonsense ‘I say it how I see it...’ so-called common-sense merchant who loves nothing more than firing off bombs about how ridiculous things are and only he really sees it – he’s like a 21st-century Trueman or a cricketing version of Toby Young.”

10th over: England 105-3 (Buttler 47, Livingstone 8) Now Hasnain does come off, to be replaced by Haris Rauf. He drops short on leg stump, so Buttler simply swivels for four. And then Livingstone shows Leeds his holiday snaps from Nottingham, facing a 91mph delivery and heaving it over long-on for six. So at the halfway stage, England are still ahead in terms of runs, but they can’t afford to lose more than one wicket any time soon.

9th over: England 90-3 (Buttler 38, Livingstone 2) Shadab Khan, seizing the moment, sneaks in an over for just three. The cricket is riveting – and the fans decide that this is the time to do the Mexican wave. A case of the unwisdom of crowds.

8th over: England 87-3 (Buttler 34, Livingstone 1) That was a great moment for Hasnain and for Babar Azam, who went on the defensive very quickly here and found the move backfiring badly as Moeen and Buttler made hay. But Babar then showed some mettle, by keeping Hasnain on after his fiasco of a first over, and it paid off with a vital wicket. Moeen’s innings was delicious, but it was just a cameo.

Noooo! Mo!! Let’s chip again, he thinks, and he can’t get it over Babar at mid-off. Pakistan needed that.

7th over: England 81-2 (Buttler 33, Moeen 35) Time for Shadab Khan, the first of the many wrist-spinners on the menu today. He starts solidly, conceding only singles, but then Moeen gets going again with a pull for four and a slog-sweep for six. Mo has 35 off 14 balls and the partnership has raced to 63.

6th over: England 66-2 (Buttler 29, Moeen 24) It’s a double change as Shaheen gives way to Haris Rauf, with his slingy tape-ball action. He too gets a warm welcome from Moeen, who cuts the first ball with a vengeance, back-foot-drives the second through mid-off, shovels another one past midwicket, and eases a fourth past backward point. So the PowerPlay ends with England on fire,, and those two early wickets are already a distant memory. Buttler and Moeen in full flow: Headingley’s first T20i crowd don’t know how lucky they are.

5th over: England 47-2 (Buttler 28, Moeen 7) Just when Imad was threatening to take out the whole top order, he gets taken off. It’s Mohammad Hasnain, from the great tradition of Pakistan bowlers who look about 12. Moeen greets him with a lofted square drive, lovely, languid, and only just evading the man at backward point. Buttler greets Hasnain with a ramp for six! And then a glide through gully for four, and another one, squarer. That’s 19 off the over from poor young Hasnain. Buttler has 28 off just 15 balls and he’s only taken one real risk, with that ramp.

4th over: England 28-2 (Buttler 14, Moeen 2) Michael Vaughan is saying England should “just bat here, even if it means being 40 at the end of the PowerPlay,” and Jimmy Anderson is murmuring agreement. Buttler plays another lovely drive for four, past backward point this time, but Shaheen cramps him for room after that. It’s down to Buttler, Bairstow and Livingstone to get England to something resembling respectability here. Babar Azam will be thinking, three more wickets and we’re into the tail.

3rd over: England 23-2 (Buttler 10, Moeen 1) In comes not Jonny Bairstow, who’s used to the PowerPlay, but Moeen Ali, England’s half-forgotten man. He almost perishes first ball, chipping Imad rather too close to a caught-and-bowled, but he gets away with it, takes a single, and then watches Buttler thread another drive through the off side. Imad has been expensive but effective, with 2 for 17 off his two overs.

Malan goes for the slog-sweep and it’s another big fat top edge, to Azam Khan at short third man. England are in trouble.

2nd over: England 17-1 (Buttler 5, Malan 1) It’s Shaheen Shah Afridi to bowl to Dawid Malan, who has been all or nothing this summer – he either gets 68-plus or single figures. Shaheen, who eats left-handers for breakfast, beats Malan, who then prods into the leg side to get off the mark. Buttler sees that and decides to get going in style, with a cover drive, opening the face to find the gap – which is enough to sweep away the only slip.

1st over: England 11-1 (Buttler 0, Malan 0) The first ball is a dot, the second is a ... six! Roy spots a half-tracker and carts it over midwicket. When Imad pitches it up, Roy is waiting with a sweep and that’s four more. Then there’s a wide, and Imad seems to be losing the plot – only to slow himself down by 10mph and lure Roy to his doom. It was all a plan! Two dots to Buttler round off an over that had a little bit of everything.

Big heave, top edge, simple catch at backward point.

Play! It’s going to be Imad Wasim with his slow-left-arm darts.

“At Trent Bridge,” says Zain Malik on Twitter, “it was probably the toss that made the most significant impact. The game could have ended on a different note had the English skipper elected to bat first.” You may well be right, though I wouldn’t want to be the person trying to convince Eoin Morgan about that.

Not wanting to send anyone away from the OBO, but this match is live on BBC1 – so do grab the nearest impressionable young person and give them a taste of it.

“Eoin Morgan has solved the problem of the congestion around England’s batting places,” says Simon Wilde of The Sunday Times on Twitter, “by dropping himself for today’s second T20.” He has also made it clear how he feels about this series: he’s not too bothered about losing it.

With only four T20 games left until the World Cup (all against Pakistan), Morgan would rather try different combinations than go all out for victory. This is still a strong England side, but the decision to field three and a half spinners is all about planning for the UAE.

England 1 Jason Roy, 2 Jos Buttler (capt, wkt), 3 Dawid Malan, 4 Jonny Bairstow, 5 Liam Livingstone, 6 Moeen Ali, 7 Tom Curran, 8 Chris Jordan, 9 Adil Rashid, 10 Saqib Mahmood, 11 Matt Parkinson.

Pakistan 1 Babar Azam (capt), 2 Mohammad Rizwan (wkt), 3 Fakhar Zaman, 4 Sohaib Maqsood, 5 Mohammad Hafeez, 6 Azam Khan, 7 Shadab Khan, 8 Imad Wasim, 9 Haris Rauf, 10 Shaheen Shah Afridi, 11 Mohammad Hasnain.

Pakistan opt not to change a winning team. England bring back Adil Rashid and Chris Jordan as well as Buttler, as Lewis Gregory and David Willey step down, along with Morgan. So England have two leg-spinners, Rashid and Matt Parkinson, plus Liam Livingstone’s slow all-sorts and Moeen Ali’s under-used off-breaks. They also have an uncharacteristically long tail, with Jordan and Tom Curran at Nos 7 and 8. Hmmm.

Eoin Morgan hands over to Jos Buttler, who returns from injury and becomes England’s third captain in three matches.

Babar Azam is looking forward to it: win the toss, “win the match and win the series”.

Afternoon everyone and welcome to the second T20, which England rather badly need to win. Typical, isn’t it? They field a bunch of third-stringers and win 3-0, then most of the big guns come back and they go 1-0 down.

It all makes sense if you look at the other element in the picture: the opposition. Pakistan are supposed to be more up-and-down than most sports teams, but on this short tour they have traced the steadiest of trajectories. In the first ODI, caught cold after playing no warm-ups, they made only 141. In the second, they managed 195. In the third, they almost put those two totals together with a sparkling 331 – only to be let down by their fielding and outshone by James Vince, finally having his day in the sun. Then, in the first T20, Pakistan’s batsmen improved again, lifting their scoring rate from 6.62 runs per over to 11.60. It was the fastest they had ever gone, in any form of cricket, over an innings lasting longer than one ball. Up, up and away.

Continue reading...