Haris Rauf Stars as Pakistan Clinch a Nail Biter
In a thrilling final act, Haris Rauf’s death bowling skills outweighed Liam Dawson’s finishing prowess as Pakistan found a way to win the fourth T20I in Karachi by 3 runs and level the series 2-2.
All the drama from the last three overs
Pakistan were in the driving seat when England needed 33 more runs from two overs, with only three wickets in hand. But a 24-run over then from Mohammad Hasnain turned the game on its head. Hasnain, who hitherto had figures of 3-0-16-2, conceded four boundaries and a six, all of which were hit by Dawson. England were favorites as a result, only for Rauf to pick two wickets in two balls, including Dawson’s wicket off a short ball, to put his side on course to a famous win. Reece Topley’s run out in the final over sealed that and England were bowled out for 163 with four balls to go.
“We were 10-15 runs short,” Babar said after the game. That England couldn’t chase it down was also down to how they bowled with the new ball upfront, leaving the visitors tottering at 14/3. Mohammad Nawaz picked Phil Salt in the first over before Hasnain’s twin strike in the next, which saw the dismissals of Alex Hales and Will Jacks. England did manage to recover to 106/4 but back-to-back wickets of Moeen Ali (bowled by Nawaz) and Harry Brook (caught off a slower ball from Mohammad Wasim) hurt the chase. Dawson did what he did but couldn’t do it for long enough on the night.
Another good opening stand for the hosts
Mohammad Rizwan (88 off 67) and Babar Azam (36 off 28) added 97 runs for the first wicket, getting their team off to another good start. Rizwan scored 60 off those runs and dominated the partnership in terms of contribution and strike. By the end of the PowerPlay when Pakistan were 52/0, Babar had faced only 11 balls for 13 runs and looked in total contrast to Rizwan at the other end. Rizwan went on to complete a 38-ball fifty in the 10th over and even hit Adil Rashid for his only six soon after.
How did Pakistan only make 166?
Good starts haven’t been an issue for Pakistan lately, but good totals have been. Once the overs ticked into the second half of the innings, it was imperative for Babar to take more risks and that’s when England came back into the game. Caught at deep midwicket off Dawson, Babar was replaced in the middle by Shan Masood whose 19-ball 21 kept Pakistan’s scoring rate in check despite Rizwan picking the boundaries at the other end. Reece Topley was on a hat-trick in the final over and it took Asif Ali’s 3-ball 13* – featuring two sixes – that helped Pakistan get to 166/4. Debutant Olly Stone picked figures of 0 for 36.