Pakistan beat England in thriller to level series

Mohammad Nawaz took the crucial wicket of England captain Moeen Ali
Fourth Twenty20 international, Karachi
Pakistan 166-4 (20 overs): Rizwan 88 (67), Babar 36 (28); Topley 2-37
England 163 (19.2 overs): Dawson 34 (17) Brook 34 (29); Nawaz 3-35
Pakistan won by three runs; series level at 2-2

Pakistan edged past England by three runs in a thrilling encounter in Karachi to level their Twenty20 series at 2-2.

Chasing 167, Liam Dawson put England on course for victory after smashing 24 runs off the 18th over to leave the tourists needing nine runs from 12 balls.

But an absorbing match swung Pakistan’s way the following over when Haris Rauf took two wickets in two deliveries to leave England nine down with four runs still required.

Number 11 Reece Topley was then run out in the final over to seal the win for the home side and spark scenes of jubilation among the crowd.

Earlier, Mohammad Rizwan top-scored with 88 from 67 balls as Pakistan reached 166-4.

A disciplined England bowling performance restricted Pakistan to just three sixes in their entire innings, with two of those coming from Asif Ali in the final over, which proved vital.

England made a poor start to their reply and were reduced to 14-3 after two overs.

Harry Brook hit 34 from 29 balls and Ben Duckett 33 from 24 to lead the recovery, but England continued to lose wickets at regular intervals.

Dawson’s late heroics nearly got them over the line, but he looked inconsolable as Pakistan hit back to bowl England out for 163 and seal a breathless win.

The teams will now travel to Lahore for the fifth T20 in the seven-match series on Wednesday.

Pakistan show character to level series

The first three games of this series have been relatively one-sided but the pulsating nature of this match will prove excellent preparation for both sides before the T20 World Cup next month.

It was a battle of contrasting batting approaches, with Pakistan openers Rizwan and Babar Azam, who made 36 off 28, favouring measured accumulation over aggressive hitting.

Things looked ominous for England when the hosts reached 82-0 at the halfway stage but, after setting that platform, Pakistan failed to push on, mustering just three fours and no sixes between the 12th and 19th overs before Asif’s lively cameo.

After dropping a simple chance to dismiss Brook on four, spinner Mohammad Nawaz shone with the ball, taking 3-35, including the crucial wicket of England captain Moeen Ali for 29.

Seamer Mohammad Hasnain was also excellent in taking 2-40, though the 22-year-old’s inexperience told when he sent down several poor deliveries and a no-ball as he was smashed around the ground by Dawson.

That looked to have proved costly, but some excellent death bowling from Rauf dragged the game back in Pakistan’s favour.

England’s bold approach fails to pay off

The run map shows Liam Dawson scored 34 with 1 six, 5 fours, 2 twos, and 4 singles for England

England’s riskier stroke play brought plenty of boundaries but they also consistently lost wickets, which hampered their chase.

Opener Phil Salt set the tone by smashing the first two balls of the innings for four before slog-sweeping the next delivery straight to Mohammad Wasim on the mid-wicket boundary.

Alex Hales fell for five the next over thanks to a stunning diving catch by Usman Qadir, before Will Jacks was clean bowled by Hasnain for a duck to leave England in trouble.

Brook, Duckett and Moeen all made starts but failed to push on as England were reduced to 113-6 before Dawson’s late surge gave hope of an unlikely win.

Moeen had earlier rotated his bowlers superbly to ensure Pakistan were never able to cut loose, with Topley taking 2-37 and Adil Rashid going for just 27 through the middle overs.

There was also a T20 debut for Olly Stone, who clocked speeds of 90mph to add to England’s potential pace bowling options as they prepare for the World Cup.

‘We should have chased that down’ – reaction

England captain Moeen Ali: “An amazing game of cricket. Obviously it went both ways, kept swinging and it was just amazing. The crowd were electric throughout the four games here.

“We should have chased that down. Liam Dawson had a brilliant game and I’m pleased for him. Sad that he couldn’t get us over the line but these things happen.”

Pakistan fast bowler Haris Rauf: “In my mind I didn’t want to give up, I just wanted to take wickets.

“In this kind of international T20 cricket match, you have to be able to handle pressure. That’s why you’re selected and that’s why I try to do my best and it worked well.”

England fast bowler Olly Stone, speaking on Sky Sports: “Obviously we didn’t get the right result but the atmosphere was great and has been all series. I love being out there and it makes all the hard work worthwhile.

“I felt like my bowling went well. It’s nice to hit 90mph. I try go out there and try to be aggressive. I love playing for England and hopefully there are plenty more years to come.”

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