Pakistan captain Babar Azam returned to form in style as he scored a 62-ball century against England in Pakistan’s chase of 200 runs during the second Twenty20 against England at the National Stadium Karachi.
Babar hit five sixes and nine boundaries in his innings as Pakistan closed in on a famous 10-wicket win against England.
It was the second 100 for Babar in the T20 format. He has also scored 26 half centuries.
Openers Muhammad Rizwan and Babar Azam Thursday gave Pakistan a steady start in their pursuit of a mammoth 200 target.
Pakistan reached 87-0 in the 10 overs needing another 113 runs off 60 balls.
Rizwan is playing at 48 off 29 balls hitting two sixes and four boundaries while Babar is on 28 off 31 balls hitting six boundaries in the process.
Pakistan were 59-0 at the end of the first power play.
On the second ball of the sixth over bowled by Liam Dawson, Rizwan got another life when he miscued a shot while coming down the track and one hand off the bat and it went high towards the man on the edge of the ring. Alex Hales was under it, but seemed to lose track and then juggled the catch without success.
Earlier, a quick-fire half-century from captain Moeen Ali aided by fireworks from Ben Duckett and Harry Brook helped England pile up 199-5 on the board against Pakistan.
Moeen took only 23 balls in his unbeaten innings to score 55 runs. He hit two consecutive sixes on the last two deliveries to reach his half-century mark. He hit four sixes and four boundaries in his innings as England made 66 runs in the last five overs.
Brook scored 31 runs off 19 balls with the help of three sixes and four before he was clean bowled by Rauf.
Duckett scored 43 runs off 22 balls before being bowled out by Nawaz. He hit seven boundaries. England opener Phil Salt made 31 off 27 balls.
Sam Curran remained unbeaten at 10 off 8 balls hitting one boundary.
For Pakistan, Haris Rauf took two wickets for 30 runs, Shahnawaz Dahani conceded 37 runs for his two wickets while Muhammad Nawaz grabbed one wicket for 40 runs. Muhammad Hasnain was the most expansive bowler for his wicketless four overs for 51 runs followed by Usman Qadir who also remained wicketless conceding 41 runs.
England reached 80-2 in the halfway stage despite a double blow form Shahnawaz Dahani.
Earlier, Shahnawaz Dahani took two wickets in two balls as Pakistan seized the momentum from England.
England were 48-2 after the end of the first power play.
Dahani bowled opener Alex Hales and Dawid Malan on the two successive first balls of the sixth over to put the brakes on the England side that looked to set for a huge total.
England openers Hales and Phil Salt, after negotiating a good first over from Muhammad Hasnain that cost just three runs, flexed their muscles soon. Salt welcomed spinner Muhammad Nawaz with a six on the very first ball of the second over. Nawaz conceded 10 runs in the second over.
In the next over, Hales hit a six and a boundary on two consecutive balls to Hasnain. Dahani also conceded eight runs in his first over while in the fifth over Haris Rauf conceded 10 runs as Babar used four bowlers in the six-over power play.
However, Dahani seized the momentum for Pakistan in the sixth over with a double wicket as England finished the power play at 48-2.
Hales made 26 runs off 21 balls hitting three fours and a six while Malqn went for a golden duck.
Earlier, won the toss and elected to bat first in the second Twenty20 of seven-match series at National Stadium Karachi.
England captain Moeen Ali changed the tactics for the second game as it would be played on a fresh pitch.
“Wicket doesn’t look as fresh, there’s a lot more cracks and we’ve got three spinners as well,” Moeen said.
Dawson does indeed come into the XI for Gleeson.
Babar Azam said that 150-160 will be chaseable.
“We started well in the first ten overs,” he said of the first T20I, “need the middle order to step up.”
Pakistan also made one change as Mohammad Hasnain replaces Naseem Shah.
England are already 1-0 up in the series after inflicting a comprehensive defeat on the hosts, the first ever loss for Pakistan in T20 format at the venue.
The focus will remain on Pakistan’s batting lineup which is struggling to shape up since the team turned to the shorter version of the game in the Asia Cup ahead of the World Twenty20 to be played in Australia later this year.
Pakistan have a chronic middle-order problem and basically remained dependent on its opening batters Babar Azam and Muhammad Rizwan to build the innings and hard-hitters at later overs to try to make the total decent with their free hitting. However, as Babar is recently out-of-form it seems that Pakistan have lost the winning recipe and are struggling to come up with clues to fill this huge gap.
Pakistan: Babar Azam (capt), Mohammad Rizwan, Haider Ali, Shan Masood, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Nawaz, Shahnawaz Dahani, Mohammad Hasnain, Haris Rauf, Usman Qadir
England: Phil Salt (wk), Alex Hales, Dawid Malan, Ben Duckett, Harry Brook, Moeen Ali (capt), Sam Curran, David Willey, Liam Dawson, Adil Rashid, Luke Wood.