England face Pakistan in T20 series decider as they get knockout vibes ahead of World Cup | Cricket News


Seven-match T20I series between Pakistan and England to be settled in Lahore on Sunday; watch on Sky Sports Cricket from 3pm ahead of the first ball at 3.30pm; Phil Salt blazed 88 from 41 balls last time out as England won sixth match by eight wickets

Last Updated: 01/10/22 7:19pm


Highlights from the sixth T20 international in Lahore as Phil Salt's blistering 88 not out from 41 balls powered England to an eight-wicket victory over Pakistan

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Highlights from the sixth T20 international in Lahore as Phil Salt’s blistering 88 not out from 41 balls powered England to an eight-wicket victory over Pakistan

Highlights from the sixth T20 international in Lahore as Phil Salt’s blistering 88 not out from 41 balls powered England to an eight-wicket victory over Pakistan

A winner-takes-all cricket match on a Sunday night.

England would love to be in that position next month at the T20 World Cup final in Melbourne – and have somewhat of a dry run this Sunday with a deciding T20 international against Pakistan in Lahore.

After a series that has swayed one way and then the other, the two teams are locked at 3-3 after six of the seven games – although England should arguably have sewn up the silverware already.

Bungled run chases in the fourth and fifth matches in pursuit of modest totals cost them and left them needing to win Friday’s penultimate fixture, also in Lahore, to keep the series alive.

A blistering assault from Phil Salt (88 not out from 41 balls) took the tourists to that victory in brutal style, with his onslaught helping England plunder 102 in the first seven overs chasing 170. Virtually job done,. Moeen Ali’s men eventually eased home with a whopping 33 balls to spare.

One must-win game down and another to go. These fixtures are certainly giving England great preparation should they find themselves in a similar scenario during the World Cup in Australia, a tournament they will be aiming to win for the first time since triumphing in the Caribbean in 2010.

The team’s mettle will be tested in the series decider on Sunday but Jos Buttler’s calf probably won’t be, with the usual skipper not rushing his comeback from an injury that has sidelined him since mid-August.

His return should come in the three-match series against Australia, which starts in Perth on October 9 ahead of further meetings in Canberra.

“I feel like if it was a World Cup game tomorrow I could play but I am being a bit cautious and taking it a bit slowly. If I had to, I could play,” Buttler told Sky Sports Cricket earlier this week.

England captain Jos Buttler provides an update on his fitness ahead of the T20 World Cup

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England captain Jos Buttler provides an update on his fitness ahead of the T20 World Cup

England captain Jos Buttler provides an update on his fitness ahead of the T20 World Cup

In Buttler’s absence, Salt and Hales have been paired at the top of the order – both have made some low scores but also a half-century apiece, with Salt’s 16-boundary blitz on Friday night following Hales notching 53 in the series opener, in what was his first England game since 2019.

England’s batting depth has been on show around those two limp chases mid-series, with Harry Brook – who looks increasingly nailed on to start at the World Cup – and Ben Duckett – who is not even in the squad for that tournament such are the team’s riches – also plundering runs.

The bowling looked a real concern after game two when Pakistan knocked off a target of 200 with three balls to spare, although two things to note were that express paceman Mark Wood did not play and Sam Curran was actually spared real punishment, with his four overs only going for 29.

Both Wood and Curran have been plus points for England in this series.

Wood has only played two games but underlined in both of them how vital he could be at the World Cup, snaring three-wicket hauls – each of his victims, bar one, proper batters – and bowling at well in excess of 90pmh. In his first appearance, he touched 97mph.

Watch each of Mark Wood's three wickets in the fifth T20 international against Pakistan in Lahore

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Watch each of Mark Wood’s three wickets in the fifth T20 international against Pakistan in Lahore

Watch each of Mark Wood’s three wickets in the fifth T20 international against Pakistan in Lahore

Curran, meanwhile, has picked up two wickets in each of his last two matches, with his subtle cutters accounting for Pakistan batters Haider Ali and Iftikhar Ahmed on Friday night.

He has been economical, too, holding an economy rate of 7.25 across his 20 overs, a frugality that is only bettered by Wood (5.50), England spinner Liam Dawson (7.22) and Pakistan spinner Iftikhar (4.87), all of whom have bowled far fewer overs than Curran – eight for Wood and Iftikhar, nine for Dawson.

England bowling coach David Saker said: “There was a little bit of talk that the options weren’t as broad as some other teams, but I’m pretty confident we’re in a really good space with our bowlers

“We’ve got left and right-arm options, we’ve got Wood with a bit of pace and we’ve got spin options. At World Cups you need as many options as you can and I think we’re in really good health.

“Mark is going to be pretty special, he’s been bowling some seriously quick overs for us. Obviously he is going to be a pretty important weapon for us throughout the World Cup with his pace. But he’s been out all summer back home so we have to make sure we’re looking after him.”

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England have certainly looked after Wood in this series with the speedster given a watching brief for four of the matches but the temptation must be to bring him back in on Sunday as they look for a first white-ball series victory in five attempts.

Since shellacking Netherlands in 50-over cricket in June, England have lost T20I and ODI series to India, drawn an ODI series with South Africa and then gone down in T20 cricket to the Proteas.

Thanks to Salt’s match-deciding knock on Friday night, they now have a chance to snap that barren run. The chance to win when it really matters.

If they can do it this Sunday in Lahore, belief should rise that they could yet do it on World Cup Sunday in Melbourne on November 13.

Watch the series-deciding seventh T20 international between Pakistan and England live on Sky Sports Cricket on Sunday. Coverage begins at 3pm with the first ball at 3.30pm.





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