With 15 World Cup matches to go to I need to speed up my writing, so I’m going to see what I can do with this one. No doubt I’ll ramble as per usual though!

This was the final match in a 5 ODI series, the first at The Oval had been rained off, well Hailstoned off if that’s a thing, I was there and the weather was dreadful! England had won the other 3.

Eoin Morgan back at the helm, won the toss for England and elected to bat. Jonny Bairstow and James Vince were the opening pair for this match. James Vince again looked great at the crease, he scored 33, including 7 Fours and of course did so with pure class. However he fell foul of a ball from Shaheen and was caught by Fakhar. England were 63 for 1.

Joe Root joined Bairstow and played an innings I’ve rarely seen him play. It was almost as if he wanted to show he could do what the big hitters could. Bairstow was out in the 12th over, he hadn’t looked his most fluent at the crease, he was caught by Shaheen from the bowling of Imad having made 32 from 21 balls.

England were 105 for 2 in the 12th over. Joe Root was joined by his captain Eoin Morgan. The pair put on 117 for the 3rd wicket, with Morgan making 76 from 64 balls on just over an hour. He was caught by Abid Ali, a second wicket for Shaheen. England were 222 for 3 in the 30th over.

The Pakistan fielding was so much better than it’d been at Trent Bridge, no dropped catches and fumbled fours this time round. Joe Root was approaching a superb century when he went for a ball from teenager Mohammad Hasnain, he knew as soon as he hit the ball he was going to be out, Asif Ali who had been fielding in front of me took the catch. Root had played a highly entertaining innings and made 84 from 73 balls.

England were on 257 for 4 in the 36th over, Root’s departure left Joe Buttler and Ben Stokes at the crease. Buttler did his Buttler thing and hit 34 form 34 balls, with 30 of the runs coming from boundaries. He was caught by Abid from the bowling of Imad.

Moeen Ali who hadn’t had the best of series finished this one with the bat with a second ball Duck as Imad trapped him LBW. The photo doesn’t make for great viewing.

Moeen wrong footed
Imad Wasim on the far right finished with 3 for 53

Chris Woakes contributed 13 before being caught by Babar from the bowling of Shaheen. Ben Stokes, who’s added patience to his repertoire in the last year, batted for 50 minutes, and scored 21 from 29 balls. Hassan Ali took his wicket, another catch for Fakhar.

David Willey in at 9 scored 14 from 11 balls, before he was clean bowled by Shaheen, who ended with figures of 4 for 82 from his 10 overs.

Tom Curran had another fine innings at 10, he scored 29 from just 15 balls, pulling off some great, unorthodox shots. Although Sam did ok in the IPL I do feel the wrong brother was chosen.

Curran’s innings took England past the 350 mark, he really pushed things on. England finished on 351 for 9, setting Pakistan a total of 352 to win. That chase didn’t start too well. Chris Woakes took 3 wickets in his first 2 overs and Pakistan found themselves on 6 for 3.

Curran’s innings took England past the 350 mark, he really pushed things on. England finished on 351 for 9, setting Pakistan a total of 352 to win. That chase didn’t start too well. Chris Woakes took 3 wickets in his first 2 overs and Pakistan found themselves on 6 for 3.

Fakhar was caught by Joe Root from the 3rd ball of the Pakistan innings, 0 for 1. Abid was judged to be LBW on the 15th ball, he reviewed the decision, and the call was deemed, umpire’s call on the ball hitting the stumps, it was literally skimming the bails.

3 balls later Hafeez, an experienced cricketer was given out LBW, replays showed the umpire was wrong, but Hafeez failed to review. The review hadn’t been forfeited by Abid so was still available. That was a missed opportunity when Pakistan were in some difficulty.

Babar had watched his team mates come and go in quick succession, he was joined by his captain Sarfraz. A man who’s more than capable of scoring runs, he needed to stand up this time round. And stand up he did, the pair put on 146 for the 4th wicket.

Babar had reached 80 from 83 balls when Rashid flicked the ball onto the stumps to run him out, it was brilliant work! Pakistan were 152 for 4. There were congratulations for Rashid a few over later when he took a superb catch from his own bowling, despatching Shoaib for just 4. The ball was fired back at him quickly, close to the ground, it was great work! Pakistan were 189 for 5 and running out of recognised batsmen.

Sarfraz had been batting wonderfully, it was noticeable how far he batted outside of his crease from my viewpoint. He was just 3 away from his century when he misjudged a ball, thinking he’d hit it away he went to take a run, but the ball hit Jos Buttler’s boot and he ran him out. He was out for 97 from 80 balls. Pakistan were 193 for 6 after 31.5 overs.

Asif Ali, who must’ve been under incredible stress added 22 from 17 balls before being caught by Ben Stokes from the bowling of David Willey. Imad Wasim made 25 from 21 balls before he was caught by Buttler from the bowling of Woakes.

Hassan Ali can be a handy batsman, but he made just 11 before becoming Woakes 5th wicket., another catch for Willey and Pakistan were 350 for 9 with nearly 10 overs remaining. It looked like I’d be on the road home early.

Pakistan had Shaheen and Hasnain at the crease, two 19 year olds, one of which had not a single run to his name. While it was unlikely the pair were going to win the game for Pakistan they certainly put on some entertainment for the crowd. They may well have damaged David Willey’s chances of keeping his spot too. He was ultimately left out of England’s final 15. Pakistan were eventually bowled out for 297 after this young pair put on 47 runs! England won by 54 runs, a 4 nil series win

A word for Jonny Bairstow, he was fielding in front of where I was sitting, he signed autograph after autograph and was obviously enjoying playing at home. He was a joy to watch!


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