Pakistan registered their first win of the ICC World Cup 2019 against England, edging the hosts by 14 runs in a thriller at Trent Bridge here on Monday. Centuries from Jos Buttler and Joe Root weren’t enough for England as a lower order collapse meant they failed to chase down the target of 349. A 130-run partnership between Root (107) and Buttler (103) for the fifth wicket looked to have set up a second win of the tournament for England. The two had rebuilt the innings after England had lost 4 wickets for just 118 runs yet there was always a feeling that one of them needed to see the innings through to the end. Yet both departed just after completing their centuries, leaving the hosts with a mountain to climb despite the contributions from their star men. They were still in with a chance due to Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali still being at the crease, but the latter was dismissed by Wahab Riaz after a particularly nervy innings.
Riaz then got Woakes to edge one to Sarfraz Ahmed of the very next ball, all but ending their resistance and putting Pakistan in the driver’s seat. England needed 29 off the final two overs and with all their best batsmen back in the hut, they ended up falling short by 14 runs.
The lack of contributions from the top order hurt England. Jason Roy was trapped plumb in the third over of the game by Shadab Khan and Jonny Bairstow was dismissed by Riaz when he edged one to Sarfraz. Eoin Morgan (9) and Ben Stokes (13) went without troubling the scoreboard, leaving too big a task for the lower order despite Root and Buttler’s partnership.
Earlier, Mohammad Hafeez missed out on becoming the first century-maker of the World Cup but a vastly improved batting display from Pakistan saw them make 348-8. Hafeez made the most of a reprieve when Roy dropped him at mid-off following a skied drive off Adil Rashid when he was on 14. It was an improved showing from Pakistan’s batsmen especially considering how ordinary they looked against West Indies in their opening match. They were helped by England’s poor fielding too.
Pakistan went on the attack from the start with Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq giving their side some early impetus. An 82-run stand came to an end when Fakhar was stumped by Jos Buttler off Moeen Ali. Imam then holed out for 44 when he lofted Moeen only for Woakes, running round from long-off, to hold an excellent diving catch. Babar completed a run-a-ball fifty before he too fell to the Moeen-Woakes combination while Hafeez, cashing in on his reprieve, hit a six and four off successive balls from leg-spinner Rashid on his way to a 39-ball fifty. Hafeez lofted a loose legside delivery from Wood for six to go into the 80s, only to fall when he drove a catch to Woakes at long-off. But Sarfaraz maintained the momentum with a 40-ball fifty.