Pakistan pulled off a thrilling three-run win to level the seven-match T20I series 2-2 as England self-destructed in the last two overs on Sunday with the loss of a key batter followed by a golden duck and a run out. (More Cricket News)
Chasing Pakistan's 166-4, England still needed 33 off 18 balls in the fourth Twenty20 international but greatly improved its chances when Liam Dawson (34 off 17) smacked fast bowler Mohammad Hasnain for 24 runs in the 18th over — including four boundaries and a six.
Dawson then pulled pacer Haris Rauf for another boundary early in the penultimate over. At 162-7, and needing only five runs off 10 balls, England looked almost certain to win.
But Rauf (3-32) refused to give up and grabbed the vital wicket of Dawson, who was caught at midwicket, before rattling the stumps of T20 debutant Olly Stone for a golden duck. With four required off the final over, Reece Topley was run out at the non-striker's end as England was dismissed for 163 with four balls to spare.
“I had a plan where to bowl at Dawson and, after getting his wicket, I knew we can run through the two tailenders,” Rauf said. “It was a pressure game and thankfully we finished on the right side of the result.” England captain Moeen Ali earlier won his third straight toss and opted to field.
Top-ranked batter Mohammad Rizwan made 88 off 67 balls and anchored Pakistan's innings with his third half century of the series. Pakistan's most accomplished T20 opening pair of Rizwan and captain Babar Azam (36 off 28) once against provided a solid start of 97 off 71 balls, but England pulled back nicely once Dawson broke the stand in the 12th over.
Babar holed out against the left-arm spinner in the deep and Pakistan's middle order struggled for boundaries to accelerate in the second half of the innings. Rizwan raised his half century off 38 balls, but Shan Masood (21 off 19) struggled to accelerate while batting at No. 3 against either spin or pace.
Left-arm seamer Topley (2-37) got the wickets of Khushdil Shah and Rizwan in the last over before Pakistan's power-hitter Asif Ali (13 not out), playing his first game of the series, lifted the total with two sixes in his three-ball innings.
England's top order crumbled against Hasnain and Nawaz inside the first two overs. Alex Hales (5), one of the three changes England made from the previous game, was caught brilliantly by Usman Qadir off the bowling of Hasnain and Will Jacks, playing only his second T20, was bowled by Hasnain without scoring.
Rauf could have got dangerman Harry Brook off his first ball in the last over of the batting powerplay but Nawaz dropped a sitter before Ben Duckett (33) struck three successive fours against Mohammad Wasim, who was playing his first game of the series after recovering from side strain.
Duckett fell in Nawaz's return spell when the left-arm spinner had the left-hander trapped leg before wicket and then clean bowled Moeen Ali (29). Brook finally got caught at fine leg in the 15th over before Rauf kept his nerve against Dawson's belligerence in front of 32,000 home team fans to seal the game for Pakistan.
“Amazing game of cricket,” Moeen Ali said. “We felt like we should have chased that down … Daws (Dawson) had a brilliant game, sad for him he couldn't get us over the line, but these things happen and they bowled really well.”
Lahore will host the remaining three games of the series which is a warmup for next month's T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia.