Pakistan: 358/9 (50) — Imam-ul-Haq 151 (131), Chris Woakes 67/4 (10)
England: 359/4 (44.5) — Jonny Bairstow 128 (93), Junaid Khan 57/1 (8)
Man of the Match: Jonny Bairstow
It was carnage at Bristol County Ground as England made short of Pakistan’s work to romp to their second highest successful run-chase. Jonny Bairstow was the chief destroyer for England as his belligerent innings of 128 from 93 eclipsed Imam-ul-Haq’s 6th ton.
Put in to bat first, Pakistan made a dismal start with Fakhar Zaman back in the hut in the first over. Babar Azam followed suit soon after, however, Haris Sohail and Imam ul Haq looked in good touch right from the word go.
Imam’s 50+ partnerships with Haris and then Sarfaraz Ahmed brought Pakistan back on course for Asif Ali to play yet another sensational knock that displayed his power-hitting prowess. Asif made 52 from 43 including 3 sixes, pressing hard for a late World Cup call-up. Imam went on to play a marathon knock of 151 from 131 as Pakistan posted 358/9.
At one time, Pakistan were cruising along, well on their way to 380 or more, however, the poor form of Faheem Ashraf and lack of a proper finisher, except Asif Ali who departed earlier, held the team back from posting a more formidable total.
England team has made a name for itself for playing a fierce brand of cricket ever since the horrendous campaign in World Cup 2015. Despite the absence of the previous match’s hero Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy made sure that they didn’t leave much for the lower order. They combined 159 as Roy departed on 76 from 55 in the 18th over.
Bairstow carried his superb form coming from the IPL and smacked a fiery hundred to ensure that England cantered to victory with 31 balls to spare. An early reprieve for the right-hander as Shaheen Afridi dropped a sitter at cover punished Pakistan big time.
After Bairstow’s dismissal, it was a walk in the park for the likes of Joe Root, Ben Stokes, and Moeen Ali as they all contributed with the bat while Pakistani fielders continued to give them chances, dropping as many as six catches.
Lack of execution was also evident in Pakistan’s innings as the bowlers continued to bowl the wrong lines and seemed completely unaware of the ground’s dimensions and batsmen’s strengths and weaknesses. Barring Junaid Khan, death bowling continues to be Pakistan’s Achilles heel as the fast bowlers fail to york the batsmen when they’re on the attack.
With the win, England have an unassailable lead of 2-0 in the series after 3 matches. Next up is the 4th ODI which is scheduled at the batting paradise in Nottingham on 17 May.