England square T20 series with Pakistan after impressively limiting tourists to 155

England square T20 series with Pakistan after impressively limiting the tourists to 155, with Saqib Mahmood taking three wickets after Jos Buttler’s reckless half-century at Headingley

  • Jos Buttler helped England to 200 before the bowlers took control of the game

England paved their way to success in the second Vitality Twenty20 against Pakistan when a 45-run victory tied the series to 1-1.

After breaking with tradition by taking on Adil Rashid and Matt Parkinson as twin leg spinners at Headingley, England saw the pair seize control of the match with a defining spell that hit the breaks in Pakistan’s chase.

Together, the duo gave up only 55 runs and took three wickets from eight controlled overs, supported by Moeen Ali’s off-breaks, which accounted for two more batters.

Jos Buttler’s 59 laid the groundwork for England before Pakistan struggled for an answer

The tourists eventually stranded at 155 to nine, far below England’s 200. Jos Buttler played a defining hand in the first innings, scoring with 59 top scorers after returning as captain in place of the equipped Eoin Morgan.

The first T20 international in Leeds started off with an action-packed first-over, Jason Roy crushed Imad Wasim for six and four before making a flyout to a short third man.

Imad took advantage by picking up Dawid Malan for one on the sweep, leaving Buttler and Moeen with some early rebuilding work ahead of them. They were immediately enthusiastic about the task, scoring 19 apiece from the fifth and sixth overs.

Buttler scooped Mohammad Hasnain over his shoulder for a frenzied six, before pinging a few more traditional blows between third man and cover. Not to be outdone, Moeen waved hard at Haris Rauf and skillfully picked the holes to take four boundaries in the blink of an eye.

A power play tally of 66 for two represented a strong recovery and Moeen kept the crowd catchers going with a massive smear from Shadab Khan. He eventually fell for 36 from just 16 balls, pushing Hasnain halfway through the attack, but Buttler’s consistent scoring and the arrival of Liam Livingstone kept the pace red hot.

Fresh off scoring England’s fastest-ever century at Trent Bridge, Livingstone hit his fourth delivery for six before he and Buttler took turns lifting Imad to the stands in the 13th over. Pakistan needed wickets to stop the march and Hasnain grabbed a wrench when Buttler pierced right through to the halfway mark.

Jonny Bairstow came and went cheaply on his home ground and Livingstone was sloppily knocked out for 38 minutes, seconds after he destructively launched Rauf over the newly developed football standard. The lower order managed a further 35 in the last four overs, but lost Tom Curran, Rashid, Chris Jordan and Parkinson to the case.

The chase started steadily, Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan chopped off 50 with controlled flashes of aggression. Babar, as always, was the main scalp and it was Saqib Mahmood who claimed it. He dragged back his height and slowed down after hitting over the top, seeing a drive-plug attempt half way through.

An unexpected sighting of Moeen’s off-spin in the sixth cost England over 14 and when he was quickly shuffled for Rashid, the Yorkshireman struck on the first try. He tossed it and swung it around the outer edge of Sohaib Maqsood, sending Buttler into a nosedive to punch.

Rashid and Parkinson continued to throttle the run rate, killing the pace as their first six overs allowed a stingy 35.

Rashid soon had his second wicket with a brilliant one-handed catch, with Rizwan crushing a full toss, too close to the local boy’s follow-through.

The errors kept coming, Fakhar Zaman bested Rashid’s googly for slip and Mohammad Hafeez scored Parkinson just before the onrushing Bairstow. With the increasing pressure, Moeen cashed in.

First, Hafeez singled out Bairstow on the second attempt, then Fakhar cleared on the attack. With two wickets and just three runs conceded, Moeen’s second visit had effectively determined the outcome.

Parkinson got a deserved wicket when he foxed Azam Khan for Buttler’s second stumping Mahmood baited for the tail, sacking Shaheen and yorking Rauf to inflate his numbers to three for 33.

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