Opener’s 171 helps host post ODI record 444 for 3 and complete commanding 169-run triumph over Pakistan
Alex Hales decimated Pakistan’s bowling unit by smashing 171 from 122 balls to provide the platform for England to post the highest ever One-Day International total of 444 for 3 in its resounding 169-run win at Trent Bridge (August 30).
England, which won the first two ODIs with relative ease as well, took a winning 3-0 lead in the five-match series in Nottingham after Pakistan was bowled out for 275 with 44 balls to spare.
England surpassed the previous record of 443 for 9 set by Sri Lanka against the Netherlands in Amstelveen in 2006. It was also the highest ODI total in a match between two Test nations, topping South Africa's 439 for 2 against West Indies in Johannesburg last year.
As far as records go, Hales set one himself with the highest individual ODI score by an England batsman. He overtook Robin Smith’s 167 against Australia at Edgbaston in 1993.
Hales, who was bowled off a Wahab Riaz no-ball when 72 and dropped on 114 by Azhar Ali off Yasir Shah, belted 22 fours and four sixes. He was involved in a stand of 248 for the second wicket with Joe Root (85) after England won the toss and elected to bat on a flat track. It was a timely response from Hales, who has been going through a tough season with the bat. His last two one-dayers saw him garner just 7 and 14 runs respectively, after he made only 145 runs in the preceding Test series against Pakistan that ended in a 2-2 draw.
Hales and Root fell in quick succession but by then, England was a healthy 283 for 3 from 38 overs. There was more carnage in store in the form of an unbroken association of 161 in 76 balls between Jos Buttler (90 not out) and Eoin Morgan (57 not out), the captain.
On any other day, Morgan’s 27-ball blitz would’ve hogged the limelight, but Buttler went one better by smashing England’s fastest ODI half-century, off just 22 balls. He hit seven fours and as many sixes in all during his 51-ball knock.
It seemed as if England would fall short of the highest ODI score but the last ball of the innings saw Buttler smash Hasan Ali over extra-cover for four to the delight of a capacity crowd.
Wahab, the left-arm fast bowler, finished with figures of 0 for 110 in his maximum 10 overs. It was the second-most expensive return in an ODI, behind Australian Mick Lewis's 0 for 113 against South Africa in Johannesburg in 2006.
To make matters worse for Riaz, who often oversteps, he also clattered Buttler's stumps with a no-ball with the England wicketkeeper-batsman on 75.
Pakistan, top of the Test rankings but a lowly ninth in the ODI table, let through a couple of early boundaries to set the tone for a desperately shoddy fielding display.
Pakistan began brightly during its massive chase as Sharjeel Khan teed off from the get-go. The stylish left-hand opening batsman smashed 58 from 30 balls with 12 fours and a six but once he holed out off Chris Woakes (4 for 41), his side's slim chance of victory went with him.
There was some resistance from Mohammad Amir as the No. 11 made a superb 58 from 28 balls with five fours and four sixes to forge the highest score by a batsman in that position in ODI history, going past Shoaib Akhtar's 43 against England at the 2003 World Cup in Cape Town.
The left-hander's fifty took just 22 balls and he reached the landmark with three successive well-struck sixes off Adil Rashid, the legspinner.
Unfortunately for Pakistan, his heroics merely delayed the inevitable and served only to reduce the margin of defeat.