After staging an impressive performance in all three departments in the thrilling opening game of the T20I series, Pakistan lost the second T20I by 45 runs.
Chasing 201 runs to win at Headingley, Pakistan’s openers made a bright start with the bat but lost their way after England fast bowler Saqib Mahmood dismissed captain Babar Azam (22) in the sixth over.
In the middle overs England took total control of the match and did not let the middle order to set the momentum. Talking about the failure of Pakistan middle order, vice-captain Shadab Khan said,
“We are trying to make a batting order where batsman gets his number where he has been performing well. Our middle order made mistakes today that caused us the match, in the next match we will try to overcome these mistakes and not to repeat these in the series decider.”
Earlier, England’s stand-in captain Jos Buttler celebrated his return to the national team with his 14th T20I fifty. In form Liam Livingstone, who tonked the biggest six of the match off Haris Rauf’s ball straight over the newly built Football Stand, scored 38. With the help of cameos of lower order England managed to post 200 on the board before getting bowled out with a ball to spare. Shadab Khan thinks that Pakistan bowlers gave away 30 extra runs,
“It is unfortunate that we could not perform well as we did in the first T20I. I think we should have restricted them [England] to 170, but we must not forget that they are one the top ranked sides when it comes to white ball cricket,” said the all-rounder, “English batsmen utilized their home conditions well. England’s tail enders managed to score important 30 runs and we struggled to meet the target.”
Pakistan won the toss and elected to field first, the decision was surprising as It was a dry pitch with clear conditions for a day match. Shadab Khan said that decision was taken considering the strengths of both sides,
“We took the strength of the opposition in consideration when we deciding to bowl first, also we have recently done well while chasing in the T20Is, that is why we opted to field first.”
English spinners Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali ripped through the Pakistan batting order to stamp a 45-run win. While England bowled with three spinners Pakistan only used two spinners (Imad Wasim and Shadab Khan), when asked if Pakistan should have gone with three spinners into the game with a dry surface, Shadab Khan said,
“Moeen Ali was used as a part time bowler, we had Mohammad Hafeez for the same job but we did not face any such situation where we could have utilized him. In the middle overs we did bowl well and managed to squeeze runs, result of the match would have been different had the target been 170.”
Pakistan vice-captain acknowledged that the pitch changed its condition towards the end of the first innings and it became friendly for spinners. He said,
“When I was bowing my last over the ball started to grip on the pitch and we realized that the pitch condition is changing. In the second innings pacers, through their slower ones, and spinners utilized the conditions well in their favor.”
Pakistan and England will meet for the series decider at Old Trafford on Tuesday.