England made a triumphant return to Pakistan after 17 years with a six-wicket win in the first T20 on Tuesday (September 20) in Karachi. Debutant left-arm fast bowler Luke Wood grabbed 3-24 to help limit Pakistan to 158-7 after captain Moeen Ali won the toss in his country of roots and elected to field.
Alex Hales, in his return to England colors after more than three years, smashed 53 off 40 balls and led the visitors to 160-4 in 19.2 overs. Pakistan couldn’t capitalize on Mohammad Rizwan (68) and captain Babar Azam’s (31) aggressive opening stand of 85 off 57 balls before the middle-order capitulated against Wood in the death overs.
Hales then benefitted from two dropped catches in his 20s before going down to fast bowler Haris Rauf soon after completing his half century. Harry Brooks, who played for Lahore in the PSL earlier this year, made an unbeaten 42 off 25 balls to finish off the game with four balls to spare.
“Brilliant performance. We pulled the game back really well. A lot of praise to the bowlers who set it up nicely for our batters. Those crucial wickets around the 10th over made a difference. It wasn’t an easy wicket for the new batters. Luke Wood and Adil Rashid were excellent,” England stand-in skipper Moeen Ali said after the match.
Both teams observed a minute of silence in memory of Queen Elizabeth II before the start of play and England players also wore black armbands. The series is a tune-up for next month’s T20 World Cup in Australia with Karachi hosting four games and Lahore the remaining three.
Brief Scores: Pakistan 158/7 (Mohammad Rizwan 68, Babar Azam 31; Luke Wood 3/24, Adil Rashid 2/27) lost to England 160/4 in 19.2 ovs (Alex Hales 53, Harry Brook 42 n.o.)
(with PTI inputs)