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Alex Hales special England beat Pakistan by 6 wickets in first T20 International
KARACHI (92 News) – Alex Hales marked his return to international cricket with a 40-run 53 as England cruised to a six-wicket win over Pakistan in the first of seven T20Is. This will be the first T20 International that England will play in Pakistan.
Hales, who has not featured in England colors since 2019, anchored the run chase at a strike rate of 133 and helped his side to chase down a target of 159 with four balls to spare. .
After the early wicket of Bill Salt, who scored 10 runs a ball, Hales added crucial runs with David Malan (15 off 20 balls) and Ben Duckett (17 off 21 balls) with two partnerships of 34 runs, with Harry Brook spinning off 25 balls. An unbeaten 42 (seven fours) took the game away from the hosts.
Openers Salt and Hales scored 14 runs off Naseem Shah’s first over with a boundary each. Babar Azam’s side got a breakthrough when Shahnawaz Dahani’s introduction followed a tight second over from Mohammad Nawaz when Salt pulled the right-arm pacer’s short-pitched delivery into the hands of a stopped Hyder Ali at deep square leg.
That was Pakistan’s only wicket in the powerplay as Malone and Hales launched a counter-attack. Malan greeted Usman Qadir with a six – a full toss – at the start of the seventh over, but a lovely leg-break ball pushed Malan off the next ball, who cupped it safely to the bowler.
Duckett’s adventurous approach did not reap the rewards he and Moeen Ali, who captained England in the absence of the injured Jos Buttler, would have hoped for, as he was caught lbw trying to reverse-sweep a ball.
Hales fell in the 17th over when he was bowled by Harris Rauf, but by then the match was in England’s favour.
Pakistan were all out for 158 – after Moeen chose to bowl – with Mohammad Rizwan 46 off 68. Rizwan and Babar put Pakistan on 51 at the end of the powerplay and were at 85 at 9.3 overs. Overs when the latter bowled a scorching googly from Adil Rashid.
Pakistan lost their next three wickets for 11 runs as Haider, Rizwan and Shaun Masood fell within 11 balls. Debutant Luke Wood returned 3 wickets for 24 runs in four overs in his T20I career. The scalps of left-arm pacer Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Nawaz and Naseem Shah made the slump worse as the hosts managed to add just 71 runs in the last 10 overs.
The second T20I between the two teams will take place on Thursday at the same venue where the third and fourth matches will also be played. The action shifts to Lahore from September 28 as Pakistan’s home of cricket, the Gaddafi Stadium, hosts the final three matches.
England defeated Pakistan by 6 wickets
Pakistan 158-7, 20 overs (Mohammed Rizwan 68, Babar Azam 31, Iftikhar Ahmed 28; Luke Wood 3-24, Adil Rashid 2-27)
England 160-4, 19.2 overs (Alex Hales 53, Harry Brooke 42, Ben Duckett 21, David Malan 20; Usman Qadir 2-36)
Man of the Match – Luke Wood (England)