Trent Bridge, June 3 (The Telegraph/WNP): Trust Pakistan to upset the form book at the Cricket World Cup.
The world’s most unpredictable cricket team ended a run of 11 straight defeats in one-day internationals by beating top-ranked England by 14 runs in a thriller at Trent Bridge on Monday.
Set 349 to win, Joe Root (107) and Jos Buttler (103) made centuries but couldn’t complete what would have been a record run chase at a World Cup and finished on 334 for nine.
After making their second-lowest World Cup, total of 105 in a shambolic opening loss to West Indies, Pakistan made its second-highest score in tournament history of 348 for eight against England, the host nation and favourite.
England also has one win and one defeat, having beaten South Africa on the first day of the World Cup.
England was always struggling to reel in Pakistan, especially after slipping to 118 for four in the 22nd over. A fifth-wicket stand of 130 between Root and Buttler – this World Cup’s first century-makers – brought the team back into the contest but both players fell soon after reaching triple figures.
Needing 29 off 14 balls, England lost Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes in successive balls off Wahab Riaz (three for 82) and Pakistan ended up comfortably easing home.
Earlier, Mohammad Hafeez headlined a return to form for Pakistan’s batsmen by making 84 off 62 balls, while Babar Azam (63) and Sarfraz Ahmed (55) also had half-centuries.
For a team that prides itself on its fielding, England were ragged throughout Pakistan’s innings – the tone set by a misfield from captain Eoin Morgan in the first over. Jason Roy dropped Hafeez on 14, which proved to be very expensive, and Root gave away a boundary in overthrows that took Sarfraz to his half-century.
It helped Pakistan make a fast start, with Fakhar Zaman (36) and Imam-ul-Haq (44) sharing an opening stand of 82. The entire team only managed 23 runs more than that against the West Indies.