England beaten by Pakistan in Cricket World Cup group match despite Jos Buttler and Joe Root centuries

3 Jun

England were unable to score a record World Cup chase against Pakistan despite brilliant centuries from Jos Buttler and Joe Root.

Root’s 107 was the first ton of the tournament while Buttler hit 103 off 76 balls but opponents Pakistan won by 14-runs in an entertaining match at Trent Bridge.

Root and Buttler did very well but it wasn’t enough to win England the game
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A target of 349 invited England to go where no other team had gone before at this level and while their master batsmen were in charge it looked as though they could, should and then would make it two wins from two.

But both departed shortly after reaching three figures, leaving too much for the lower order to do and confirming an improbable result for their opponents who lost the recent series between the sides 4-0 and were fresh from a thrashing by the West Indies.

England will rue a shocking performance in the field, a litany of errors capped by Jason Roy’s drop of Mohammad Hafeez that ended up costing 70 runs, yet Root had just as much luck when he was shelled on nine.

The 10-team format allows for setbacks such as this but England’s hopes of building a head of steam have taken an early and unexpected blow.

In asking the opposition to bat first, Eoin Morgan clearly had designs on hustling the side who were blown away for 105 by the Caribbean quicks.

Pakistan rarely play to type, though, and gave a wonderful account of themselves. An 82-run opening stand from Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq saw off the new-ball charge and there were solid half-centuries from Babar Azam (63) and Sarfaraz Ahmed (55).

Best of all was Hafeez’s bright and breezy 84, a knock that raised the rate, forced bowlers off their lines and breathed anew after Roy fluffed the simplest of lines at mid-off.

In the absence of Liam Plunkett, dropped for Mark Wood, it took the off-breaks of Moeen Ali to hit back. Fakhar was stumped as one spun past the edge and Imam holed out.

Hafeez was Pakistan’s top scorer with 84
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Woakes’ reaction to catching the latter was telling, the mild-mannered all-rounder raising his finger to his lips then jabbing it in their direction. England might be at home but they commanded no more than half of this diverse crowd.

Moeen and Woakes combined again to see off Babar but Hafeez was the prize scalp in a final 10 overs that brought 96 runs and five wickets.

England might have settled themselves with a reminder that during last month’s ODI series they successfully chased 341 against the same opponents on the same ground.

Pakistan, meanwhile, had another precedent in mind. Noting Imran Tahir’s early dismissal of Jonny Bairstow at the Oval they opened with their own leg-spinner, Shadab Khan, and enjoyed similar rewards.

Roy was the man to go this time, lbw on the sweep in the third over, to complete a poor day at the office.

England made a bad start when Roy was dismissed for a score of just eight
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Had Root followed in single figures, as he should have, it could have been devastating but when he edged Mohammad Amir to slip Babar fumbled.

For now, though, Pakistan were willing to absorb Root’s busy half-century and chip away elsewhere. Bairstow nicked the explosive Wahab Riaz, Morgan was bowled by Hafeez and opening day hero Ben Stokes was suckered into an edge by Shoaib Malik.

At 118 for four the scales were tilting hard against England, but Buttler was next man in. He danced across his stumps to ramp Wahab, benefited from a couple of thick edges past slip and whipped Shadab for an effortless six to confirm a 34-ball fifty.

Root’s progress was simpler, threading the ball square on the off side and pulling whenever invited, and there was an inevitability about his hundred. The acclaim was long and loud but celebrated quietly in the middle, Root mindful of the task still ahead.

Pakistan fight back from their mauling at the hands of the West Indies last week
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He was right to be wary, back in the pavilion six balls later when he sprayed Shadab to short third man. The pattern played out almost identically in Buttler’s innings, a low-key acknowledgement as he roared to a fine hundred then disbelief as he chopped Amir to an identical fielding position.

Wahab ended the resistance, dismissing Moeen and Woakes with successive balls.

England take 2-0 lead in ODI series with Pakistan after six wicket win in Bristol

14 May

Jonny Bairstow hit a century as England claimed a six-wicket win over Pakistan in Bristol.

The host’s second highest successful run chase means they now take a 2-0 lead in the five match One Day International series.

Pakistan had made 358 for nine on a welcoming Bristol pitch complete with small boundaries and a lightning-fast outfield.

It seemed an imposing target at the halfway stage, but nothing appears to faze this brutal England batting line-up and Bairstow resumed where Jos Buttler had left off at Southampton.

Jonny Bairstow scored a superb century in Bristol
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The Yorkshireman’s 128 from 93 balls steered England towards the fifth highest successful run chase in ODI history, and their second after the 364 scored to beat the West Indies in Barbados in February.

Buttler was rested after his weekend batting pyrotechnics had produced an unbeaten 110 from 55 balls – England’s second-fastest ODI hundred.

This time it was a different challenge after England, perhaps wishing to get some experience of chasing with the World Cup on the horizon, had won the toss and decided to bowl.

Roy and Bairstow had some early good fortune as Pakistan’s fielding failed to match their earlier efforts with the bat.

Bairstow, on four, gloved a pull off Junaid Khan and Shaheen Afridi failed to react quickly enough at short backward square.

Imam-Ul-Haq starred for Pakistan with the bat
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Shaheen suffered further misery when Roy, on 21, hit Hasan straight to him at mid-off and he spilled the simplest of chances.

Those errors proved costly as Roy and Bairstow put on 159 and became England’s most productive opening ODI partnership into the bargain.

Their fourth 150 partnership was also the fastest one of such a nature, coming from 105 balls and eclipsing the 2008 record of New Zealand pair Brendon McCullum and Jesse Ryder.

Roy fell for 76 when he swatted Faheem Ashraf straight to Asif Ali at cover after hitting eight fours and four sixes in his 55-ball stay.

On his arrival after Roy’s departure, Joe Root was picked up by a pitch microphone asking umpire Paul Reiffel ‘How do you follow that?’

The answer was stand there and watch further carnage, as Bairstow completed his seventh ODI century and finished with 15 fours and five sixes before playing on to Junaid.

Tom Curran celebrates taking a wicket against Pakistan
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Ben Stokes was unluckily run out for 37 when Shaheen diverted Moeen Ali’s drive onto the stumps at the bowler’s end

But Moeen Ali (46 not out) and captain Eoin Morgan (17 not out), who broke Paul Collingwood’s
England record of ODI appearances by playing 198th game, closed the victory out with 31 balls to spare.

Pakistan’s total was built around opener Imam-ul-Haq, whose majestic 151 was his sixth century in 27 ODI appearances.

The 23-year-old might cut an unusual figure at the crease as he bats in spectacles, but he only had eyes for a ball that he regularly sent to the boundary.

Imam carries the burden of being the nephew of Pakistan great and current chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq, but there is no denying he is a fine player in his own right.

He struck 16 fours and a six and now possesses the highest ODI score by a Pakistan player against England.

Chris Woakes was the pick of the England bowlers and finished with figures of 10-0-67-4, his 11th four-wicket ODI haul.

Woakes found early movement to dismiss Fakhar Zaman – who had made 138 at Southampton – and Babar Azam and leave Pakistan 27 for two in the fifth over.

Pakistan recovered with two 50 partnerships, although Haris Sohail’s run-a-ball 41 could have been so much more.

Jonny Bairstow lets out his frustration after being bowled
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Haris was punished for some awful running between the wickets, the nifty footwork of Tom Curran leaving him stranded when a little bit of urgency or a final dive would have saved him.

Sarfaraz Ahmed chipped in with 27 and Imam and Asif Ali, who made an ODI best of 52, put on 125 for the fifth wicket.

Woakes’ return briefly stunted Pakistan’s late push for runs until Hasan Ali provided further impetus with an unbeaten 18 from nine balls.

But England coasted home and now head to Trent Bridge on Friday 2-0 ahead with two games to play.

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed banned for four matches by International Cricket Council over racist comments

27 Jan

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed has hit with a four match suspension for breaching the International Cricket Council’s anti-racism code.

The world governing body announced Sarfraz had accepted the charge after aiming a comment at South Africa all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo during the second one-day international between the sides in Durban on Tuesday.

Sarfraz will miss the remaining two matches of the ODI series – with Shoaib Malik captaining the side in Sunday’s contest – as well as the first two matches of the Twenty20 series to follow.

Ahmed must also undergo an education course as part of his punishment

ICC chief executive David Richardson said: “The ICC has a zero-tolerance policy towards conduct of this nature.

“Sarfraz has promptly admitted the offence, was regretful of his actions and has issued a public apology, so these factors were taken into account when determining an appropriate sanction.”

Sarfraz’s comments had been picked up by the stump mic during the match, and the 31-year-old wicketkeeper then apologised to Phehlukwayo on Friday, writing on Twitter: “This morning I apologised to Andile Phehlukwayo and he was gracious enough to accept my apology and I hope the people of South Africa also accept my apology.”

The ICC added that Sarfraz will now undergo an education programme relating to the offence.