Woakes's four scalps, Taylor-Buttler partnership of 117 runs highlights of six-wicket win over Pakistan
An unbroken run-a-ball fifth-wicket stand of 117 runs between James Taylor (67 not out) and Jos Buttler (49 not out), and four wickets for Chris Woakes helped England beat Pakistan by six wickets in the third One-Day International at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Tuesday (November 17).
With the series tied 1-1 before the start of the game, Pakistan decided to bat first on a slow surface, but England bowled with a lot of discipline to dry up the boundary balls. It meant that Pakistan was bowled out for 208 in 49.5 overs. Then, Alex Hales and Eoin Morgan set up the successful chase with a 60-run stand after the visiting side had been reduced to 27 for 2.
The pair was clinical in its approach, as the focus was on rotating the strike. By the time they were dismissed by Zafar Gohar and Shoaib Malik respectively, England needed 116 runs.
Taylor and Buttler ensured that the good work done by Morgan and Hales was not wasted. Buttler was particularly aggressive, as he played an array of reverse sweeps to seize the momentum before finishing the game with a six to the midwicket fence.
Earlier, Pakistan found it difficult to rotate the strike as three batsmen got run out.
Babar Azam dragged a short-pitched delivery from Woakes from outside the off stump into the hands of Adil Rashid at fine leg in the 11th over.
Azhar Ali and Mohammad Hafeez tried to consolidate with a 47-run stand, but having managed just two fours and two sixes during the course of the partnership, the desperation started to show, and it resulted in a spot of miscommunication between the two as Azhar was run out in the 20th over. Hafeez was so consumed with a steer to point that he forgot to look at Azhar and give the right call. Azhar hesitated, without really looking like he would go for the run, and was stranded as Taylor’s throw to Buttler at the batting end gave England its second wicket.
That moment turned the direction of the innings in England’s favour as Morgan cleverly used his bowlers. He got his pacers to hit the seam, and his spinners didn’t try anything fancy, focussing on using the slowness of the surface to their advantage.
Rashid and Moeen Ali combined for 20 overs in the middle phase for just 81 runs for the wicket of Sarfraz Ahmed, who was caught at the midwicket fence after failing to get elevation in his step-out slog.
The biggest wicket, however, was that of Hafeez, who looked steady during his 45 till the slowness of the scoring rate affected him in the 30th over. Undecided whether to pull or leave, he top-edged a slow, short delivery from Willey to be caught by Joe Root at the square-leg fence.
Pakistan was 161 for 8 in 41.2 overs when Wahab Riaz and Gohar came together to bat sensibly. Riaz was largely instrumental in taking Pakistan past the 200-run mark, as he guided Gohar and Irfan for 8.3 overs. He farmed the strike when needed, and hit three big sixes to bring cheer to the fans.
To see the full scorecard of this game, please click here.