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Hafeez hundred muscles Pakistan home

Azam chips in with unbeaten 62 as host brushes England aside by six wickets

Hafeez hundred muscles Pakistan home - Cricket News
Azam's sprint to a half-century was followed by Hafeez reaching the three-figure mark as the duo took Pakistan to 217 for 4, with 6.3 overs to spare.
The first One-Day International between Pakistan and England on Wednesday (November 11) in Abu Dhabi began with fanfare as Younus Khan announced earlier in the day that it would be his final ODI. He received a guard of honour from his teammates and Azhar Ali, the captain, even announced Pakistan would do its best to produce a win for him.
 
First, it was the bowlers who responded to the battle cry, skittling England for 216, and then Mohammad Hafeez (102 not out) and Babar Azam (62 not out) combined to seal a six-wicket win. 
 
The England batsmen, too, did their bit in their sub-par effort as only Eoin Morgan (76) and James Taylor (60) were able to produce knocks of any substance.
 
The visitor was on the back foot with a small score to defend, but Reece Topley managed to restore parity somewhat, removing both of Pakistan’s openers cheaply. The paceman began erratically, with three wides interspersed between three excellent deliveries. However, he managed to break the pattern with one that caught Azhar plumb in front. Topley managed to get another to straighten against Bilal Asif and though the umpire wasn't interested, a review proved successful.
 
Younus has been a batsman living on borrowed time in ODIs -- his last 50-plus scores were 103 against New Zealand in 2014 and before that 58 against India in 2012 -- and there was no winding the clock back here. A scratchy 18-ball 9, and along with it a 15-year career in one-dayers, came to an end with a pull to midwicket as Younus left to a standing ovation.
 
Pakistan was 41 for 3 at that stage, still some distance away from the target, but Hafeez didn't let himself get carried away by the occasion. He never allowed himself to get bogged down and, aside from a mind-freeze where he nearly sold Shoaib Malik down the river with a yes-no call, batted with confidence.
 
Malik couldn't make his start count as he fell to a needless stroke off Moeen Ali for 26. But Azam, playing just his fourth match, had no trepidation in hitting Adil Rashid for a six and therein lay England's problem -- there was simply little variety in its attack that could intimidate Pakistan.
 
Azam's sprint to a half-century was followed by Hafeez reaching the three-figure mark as the duo took Pakistan to 217 for 4, with 6.3 overs to spare.
 
For England, the misery began when it was reduced to 14 for 3 in the fourth over. Mohammad Irfan struck with his – and the match’s -- second ball, bowling Jason Roy, while Joe Root perished lbw to Anwar Ali for a seven-ball duck, wasting a review in the process. Anwar then got Alex Hales to edge on to slip, where Younus managed to hold on.
 
That brought Morgan and Taylor together at the crease. It was the England captain's first appearance after a two-month lay-off due to a concussion suffered in the ODI series against Australia but, if he was feeling any nerves, he didn't show it.
 
Greeted by a short ball, Morgan creamed it to the fence and, ironically, looked the most comfortable in the conditions despite last playing an ODI in September. Taylor, too, showed he was up for the fight at the other end. In the sixth over, cricket fans had a chuckle as the 7'1" Irfan bowled to 5'6" Taylor, but the diminutive batsman survived a probing spell, including one ball that was nearly hurled above his waist, but wasn't called a no-ball.
 
But just as the partnership grew ominous, Morgan attempted a wild heave off Malik's bowling and sent the ball a long way up, but not very far. Morgan managed to survive, the fielder fumbling it in the end, but ended up looking the gift horse in the mouth as he nicked the very next ball behind to bring an end to the 133-run stand. 
 
One wicket often begets another, but even Pakistan would have been surprised at how easily England began to unspool. While Jos Buttler was run out, Taylor chipped one straight to midwicket off Malik. Azam then pulled off a stunning one-handed catch -- with his non-dominant hand -- off Yasir Shah to send Moeen back as England lost four wickets in five overs for just 14 runs.
 
A 49-ball 33 from Chris Woakes ensured that England managed to hang in there till the last over, but spectacular collapses, which haunted it in the Test series, proved to be its undoing here as well.