Image courtesy of: Zimbio
England batsman James Taylor scored an unbeaten 67 to lead his side to a comfortable six-wicket win over Pakistan in the third ODI in Sharjah.
Pakistan captain Azhar Ali would have been content with his decision to bat first early on as he and Babar Azam ensured Pakistan got off to a solid start.
But, after Azam was dismissed for 22, Ali amassed a 47-run partnership with Mohammad Hafeez before he was run out by Taylor.
Following Ali’s dismissal, Pakistan’s middle and lower order absolutely crumbled as batsmen either played horrendous strokes or were involved in communication problems. Ali was not the only batsman to be run out as Mohammad Rizwan and Shoaib Malik suffered the same fate, but in extremely embarrassing fashion.
With Pakistan struggling to stay above the surface at 187/9, Wahab Riaz blazed his way to 33 off 35 balls, which included three sixes, to lead Pakistan to 208 before they were bowled out.
Chris Woakes was the pick of the bowlers with four wickets, while David Willey, Reece Topley and Moeen Ali chipped in with one.
Chasing 209 to win, England did not get off to the best of starts as Jason Roy and Joe Root were both dismissed early on.
Alex Hales and captain Eoin Morgan got the innings back on track with a 60-run partnership before Hales was caught by Rizwan at slip off the bowling of debutant Zafar Gohar for 30.
Morgan fell shortly after as he was clean bowled by Malik for 35. But, Morgan’s wicket was to be the last thing Pakistan celebrated about as Taylor and Jos Buttler finished things off with a 117-run stand, during which Taylor registered his half-century.
Taylor ended up making 67 off 69 balls, which included six boundaries and two sixes, while Buttler remained undefeated on 49 off 50 deliveries, which included two boundaries and a six.
Gohar was the most successful bowler with two wickets, while Malik and Mohammad Irfan claimed one wicket each.
Ali was disappointed with his side’s performance, and said: “We had a very good start but in the middle we lost it. We were going on for 270 but the run-outs and a few mistakes in the batting cost us the game. We were one good partnership away and they had one good partnership. We were 30-40 runs short. [Run-outs?] It’s happened six-seven times now but we have to sort things out because it’s cost us. We’ll be trying our best to win the next one.”
Morgan was thrilled to have taken a 2-1 lead in the series, and said: “The performance was hugely satisfying, the most pivotal performance was the chase, the ball turned more than we expected and I thought the partnership between Jos and James was great. It’s an area we’ve been trying to improve and I thought that was huge for us. Under tricky circumstances, they didn’t allow the Pakistan bowlers to bowl at them. It was an outstanding win. Alex and I managed to get through a tough period but the key partnership was between those two.”
Taylor was named Man of the Match, and said: “Jos at the other end played an exceptional role, Morgy and Hales got us off to a good start. It was a little bit damper, a lot more tacky, which allowed it to spin more. But the boys gave us a platform and we took it home. Jos was great, played with a straight bat. We tried to be as busy as possible and not let them settle.”