England made their way to success in the second Vitality Twenty20 against Pakistan as a 45-point win tied the three-game series at 1-1.
After breaking with tradition by including Adil Rashid and Matt Parkinson as double legs at Headingley, England saw the pair take control of the game with a defining spell that slammed the breaks in the pursuit of Pakistan.
Between them, the duo allowed just 55 points and took three wickets out of eight controlled passes, supported by breaks from Moeen Ali who represented two more hitters.
Tourists ended up stranded on 155 for nine, well below 200 for England. Jos Buttler played a decisive hand in the opening innings, scoring the best score with 59 after returning as captain in place of Eoin Morgan at rest.
The first T20 international at Leeds started with an action-packed first time, Jason Roy crushing Imad Wasim for six and four before spiraling down to third man short.
Imad capitalized by picking up Dawid Malan for one on the sweep, leaving Buttler and Moeen with some early rebuilding to come. They immediately warmed up to the task, scoring 19 each in the fifth and sixth overs.
Buttler took Mohammad Hasnain over his shoulder for an outrageous six, before throwing a more traditional pair of punches between third man and cover. Not to be outdone, Moeen punched Haris Rauf hard, expertly picking up spreads to pocket four limits in the blink of an eye.
A 66-for-two on the power play represented a solid recovery and Moeen kept the crowd catchers in business with a huge shadab Khan smear. He eventually fell for 36 on just 16 balls, passing Hasnain halfway through, but Buttler’s consistent score and Liam Livingstone’s arrival kept the tempo red.
After scoring the fastest century in England history at Trent Bridge, Livingstone clubbed his fourth delivery for six before he and Buttler took turns to push Imad into the stands in the 13th. Pakistan needed wickets to stop the march and Hasnain grabbed a key when Buttler broke right through halfway through.
Jonny Bairstow came and went cheaply on his pitch and Livingstone was 38 seconds out, seconds after he launched Rauf destructively at the new football pit. The lower order managed 35 more over the last four overs, but lost Tom Curran, Rashid, Chris Jordan and Parkinson in the cause.
The pursuit began steadily, Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan eliminated 50 of them with controlled flashes of assault. Babar, as always, was the scalp of the prize and it was Saqib Mahmood who claimed it. Backing up from his length and taking the step after being hit over the summit, he saw an attempt to take power midway through.
An unexpected sighting of Moeen’s sixth-row counter-twist cost England 14 and when he was quickly replaced by Rashid, the Yorkshireman struck on the first attempt. Throwing it in and flipping it past the outer edge of Sohaib Maqsood, it allowed Buttler to melt for a stump.
Rashid and Parkinson strangled the run-rate, killing the tempo as their first six overs allowed a stingy 35.
Rashid soon had his second wicket with a brilliant one-handed grip, Rizwan crushing a full throw too close to the local boy’s call.
Mistakes kept coming, with Fakhar Zaman ahead of Rashid’s googly ahead of the slip and Mohammad Hafeez ahead of Parkinson just ahead of invader Bairstow. With the increasing pressure, Moeen conceded.
Hafeez first picked Bairstow on the second attempt, then Fakhar was cleaned out on the charge. With two wickets and only three points conceded, Moeen’s second visit had indeed settled the result.
Parkinson got a deserved wicket when he knocked down Azam Khan for Buttler’s second stump, Mahmood, who tackled the tail, sending Shaheen and yorking Rauf back to inflate his numbers to three for 33.