Ben Stokes and Johnny Bairstow rescued England from a precarious position to give England a 4 wicket win over Pakistan in Leeds. It was a hard-fought win as the hosts at one stage were 72 for 4 chasing 248.The visitors though managed to put up an improved show but in vain.
Pakistan won the toss and opted to bat first keeping in mind what happened in the last match when England were asked to bat first. Pakistan made four changes keeping out their experienced campaigners Malik and Amir. With the series already in the pocket England made a couple of changes to test their bench. Sharjeel Khtan as usual was off to a sparkling start. He made use of the powerplay by lofting over the infield. But Chris Jordan coming into the side after a long break gave the first breakthrough. It was more of a revenge as he took Sharjeel’s wicket who hammered him for a six and two boundaries in the previous over. In came the skipper and Pakistan’s most reliable batsman Azhar Ali. He along with Sami Aslam steadied the ship and saw off the new ball which swung a bit in the early part of the innings.
Morgan brought in Plunkett and to his surprise he was rewarded immediately as he dismissed the other opener Sami Aslam. The pressure was onto the youngster as he succumbed to it. Skipper ran out of partners as he couldn’t build a big partnership to take his side to safety. Instead he started taking on the bowlers and soon brought up his fifty. His innings was filled with some classic textbook shots mixed with some controlled aggression. Soon Azhar fell to Adil Rashid after a mistiming a pull. Pakistan were reeling at 169 for the loss of 6 wickets. Imad Wasim along with tailenders added another 80 runs to take Pakistan to a respectable total 247 for 8. Wasim also brought up his 3rd fifty during the process.
England were off to a disastrous start as they lost both their openers cheaply. Irfan was the chief in destruction as he nipped the ball both ways to find the nick. Morgan joined Root and the experienced duo started ticking the scoreboard by running singles and twos. Azhar brought back Hasan Ali and was rewarded with the price wicket of Joe Root the in form batsman. Umar Gul bowled on a consistent line and length and rewarded himself with the wicket of skipper Morgan. Both the batsman fell to some ambitious shots. Stokes along with Bairstow played some aggressive cricket which has become the trademark of the new England side. Bairstow playing in his homeground lofted the Pakistani spinners to maximum while Stokes flatbatted the quicks to boundaries. The duo brought their 100 run partnership and in the process also brought their fifties.Again aggression became suicidal as Stokes found the fielder at deep mid wicket. Bairstow fell short to some terrific fielding at mid off. Pakistan came back into the match as England had only Moeen Ali left. But the left hander came up with a valuable innings which took England home and extended their streak to 4-0.
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