Phil Salt crushes 87 from just 41 balls and fellow opener Alex Hales hits rapid fire 27 as England races to eight-wicket victory over Pakistan and sets up the T20 series decider[noscript_1]
Phil Salt propelled England to a series-leveling win over Pakistan with a brutal 50 at Gadaffi Stadium.
In what were the most clinical of batting displays, the Lancashire batter comfortably surpassed the pace of his half-century debut against the West Indies earlier this year, surpassing that 22-ball attempt by taking just 19 against a Pakistani charge with his tails up after defending two modest scores in recent days.
For Salt there hadn’t been much to justify his selection on this trip and so this was a timely reminder of his game-changing qualities as the tourists went to an eight wicket win with more than a quarter of the innings unused.
There’s also now Sunday’s deciding game before the squad moves to Australia and a World Cup, which the ICC confirmed yesterday will have a £1.45m prize for the winners – and the batting combinations for the tournament are barely nailed down .
Indeed, England’s start had gotten progressively worse here, with even mild-mannered captain Moeen Ali criticizing the application the top order had shown in the six-run defeat 48 hours earlier.
If Moeen sought a response, he certainly got it. Salt snapped left arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz a pair of fours from the first three balls of a 170 chase, then ripped into recalled pace bowler Shahnawaz Dahani, as the second took over 22.
With Alex Hales on the scene, the England 50 was in just three overs, and although Shadab Khan parted the opening pair with a googly going from above to the short third man, there was no break for Salt, in a powerplay score of 82 for one. .
England could have started this game with a 4-1 lead, and if they had shown something like the decisive approach here in defeats, with three and six runs respectively at Karachi on Sunday and here in Lahore on Wednesday.
Salt sent the ball to the rope of the dew-tinted surface and over it three times, taking Dahani and Aamer Jamal for head-high sixes on either side of the towering Nawaz straight down the ground in a fifth over that cost 19.
With left-handers Dawid Malan and Ben Duckett also throwing the ball comfortably into the holes, it made up for Moeen’s last win of the toss as Salt appropriately hit the winning run and went undefeated at 87 from just 41 balls.