English openers Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy’s devastating knocks up the order helped to their side track down a seemingly insurmountable 359-run goal that Pakistan had amassed in the 3rd ODI in Bristol on Tuesday. Bairstow’s 128-run knock off 93 balls was pivotal in the run follow but so was Roy, who contributed a 55-ball 76 and formed a 159-run stand for the starting wicket. By the time Roy was dismissed by Faheem Ashraf in the 18th over, many of the problems were done and the necessary run speed was properly under control. Joe Root ( 43 ) and Ben Stokes ( 37 ) played their components before the pairing of Moeen Ali and captain Eoin Morgan, 46 and 17-run unbeaten innings respectively, received their side over the line for the loss a mere 4 wickets.
Previously, Imam-ul-Haq came into form ahead of the World Cup with a career-best 151 like Pakistan made 358. The 23-year-old left-hander’s innings was also the maximum private score by a Pakistan batsman against England at this stage, surpassing the 138 made by his opening companion, Fakhar Zaman, in a 12-run defeat at Southampton on Saturday that left the home side 1-0 up in this five-match season.
Meanwhile, Chris Woakes did his chances of being contained in match hosts England’s final 15-man squad for the World Cup no harm with a return of 4 wickets for 67 runs in the highest ten overs. But team-mate Joe Denly’s World Cup chances suffered a setback, with the leg-spinner — participating in place of the rested Adil Rashid — bowling 2 full tosses in solitary over costing 9 runs before he was taken out of the attack by England captain Eoin Morgan. Warwickshire pace-bowling all-rounder Woakes created as an early dual strike to decrease Pakistan to 27 for 2 after Morgan won the toss and decided to let England chase — they generally prefer to bat 1st — in front of the World Cup.
Woakes’s the last ball of the 1st over, an outstanding full-length delivery, had Fakhar edging to 2nd slip where Test skipper Joe Root held a juggled catch. Number 3 Babar Azam was then clean bowled by a Woakes off-cutter. But new batsman Haris Sohail was quickly into his stride in ideal batting conditions on a sunny day. The left-hander hit 2 superbly timed fours off successive Woakes deliveries through point and then drove David Willey through the covers for a boundary line. But Sohail’s outstanding run-a-ball 41 came to an unlucky end when called through for a single by Imam, he was run out by bowler Tom Curran kicking the ball onto the striker’s-end stumps.
Pakistan was next 95 for 3 in the 17th over. But Imam and Asif Ali, whose 52 was his 2nd successive 50, repaired the problems with a fifth-wicket partnership of 125. Imam, the nephew of Pakistan good and choice chief Inzamam-ul-Haq, went to his sixth 100 in 27 ODIs — and 1st against England — off 97 balls.
He continued to take the attack to England, driving Willey for a straight 6 and next ball glancing the left-arm fast for 4. Imam then surpassed his earlier ODI best of 128 against Zimbabwe at Bulawayo a year ago. Asif holed out off Woakes and Imam’s outstanding innings ended when he was bowled, giving himself room, by Curran. Imam faced 131 balls including 16 fours and a 6. Tailenders Hasan Ali and Shaheen Shah Afridi hit out to leave England, who had also rested Jos Buttler following the star batsman’s blistering 110 not out at Southampton, with a decent chase for victory.
England: Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow ( wkt ), Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Eoin Morgan ( capt ), Joe Denly, Chris Woakes, David Willey, Tom Curran, Liam Plunkett
Pakistan: Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Sarfraz Ahmed ( capt/wkt ), Asif Ali, Imad Wasim, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Junaid Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi