England continued their T20 World Cup preparations with a six wicket win over Pakistan at The Gabba, ahead of their first match of the tournament against Afghanistan
Harry Brook and Ben Stokes starred as England’s strong build-up for the T20 World Cup continued with a six wicket win over Pakistan in Brisbane.
Having recently beaten The Shaheens 4-3 in a seven-match series, followed by two wins and a rain affected draw with Australia, Jos Buttler’s men again underlined their status as one of the favourites for the tournament with a comfortable win. Chasing 161 in 19 overs, Stokes smashed 36 off 18 balls to set up the chase before Harry Brook made an unbeaten 45 to seal the win with nearly five overs to spare.
It was Buttler who won the toss and opted to field, in contrary to the three recent games with the Aussies where England set a total each time. But a controlled bowling display helped reign Pakistan in following a rapid start.
Despite the absence of key man Babar Azam, the Pakistan opening pairing still got off to a flier as Shan Masood and Haider Ali raced to 49-0 inside five overs, before the latter nicked a Stokes delivery through to Buttler.
Massod continued his assault to reach 39 off 22 balls, including seven boundaries, but when he holed out to Sam Curran off the spin of Liam Livingstone England took control. Iftikhar Ahmed made 22 before being run out and there was a late cameo from Mohammad Wasim, who hit 26 in 16 balls, but the Pakistan total of 160-9 in 19 overs represented a modest one.
David Willey finished with 2 for 22 and there was also wickets for Curran and Jordan, with the last over lost as rain came down at The Gabba. But England’s reply got off to anything but a smooth start.
Phil Salt failed to stake his claim as he was skittled by Naseem Shah for 1, but that only served to bring in Stokes who went on the attack. In the fourth over, he took Muhammad Hasnain for back to back sixes, with Hales also flat batting a boundary as 20 came off just six balls.
In the next over Stokes continued the momentum with a four and then a maximum off Shah, but after racing to 36 off 18 balls, he went for one big hit too many off Wasim and was caught in the deep. Hales perished soon after in similar fashion, mistiming Shadab Khan’s full toss as England slipped to 51-3.
The returning Liam Livingstone then entered the fray though, and wasted little time after missing the series in Australia with injury. He smashed a monster six into the stands and also cleared the ropes again, although did ride his luck as he survived run out chance and then twice was dropped from miscues.
He didn’t get a third let off when finally, he skied one of Wasim and Shadab made no mistake, leaving England 104 for 4 and still with work to do. But then it was Harry Brook and Curran who alleviated any concerns.
The pair put on 60, with Brook notching two fours and four sixes in his unbeaten 45. Curran was also destructive, with 26 of his 33 runs coming in boundaries as the pair got over the line in just 14.3 overs.
Matthew Mott’s side face Afghanistan in their final World Cup warm-up game in Perth on Saturday. They then open their campaign next Wednesday in Melbourne, with the opponents to be dictated by the outcome of the qualifying groups.
Courtesy Mirror sports and The Telegragh