Saqib Mahmoods 4-42 inspires England to nine-wicket win over Pakistan in first ODI at Cardiff
Saqib Mahmood’s career-best figures of 4-42 sent Pakistan spiralling to a nine-wicket defeat at the hands of new-look England in the first Royal London Series ODI, at Cardiff.
Mahmood, in his fifth ODI, easily eclipsed his previous best of 2-36 with an impressive display of pace bowling as the tourists were bundled out for 141 in just 35.2 overs.
England – fielding a hastily-assembled replacement XI after the original ODI squad in its entirety was placed in isolation on Tuesday following a COVID-19 outbreak in the camp – cruised to their target in 21.5 overs on the back of an unbroken 120-run stand between Zak Crawley (58no) and Dawid Malan (68no).
The partnership was the highest at Cardiff for the second wicket of any international ODI innings, surpassing the 92 posted by Australians Mark Waugh and Ricky Ponting against Pakistan in 2001.
Crawley was one of five debutants in the home line-up – alongside opener Phil Salt, all-rounder Lewis Gregory, fast bowler Brydon Carse and wicketkeeper John Simpson – which was led by Ben Stokes, hurried back into the side ahead of schedule after fracturing a finger at the Indian Premier League.
Stokes was in jovial mood after winning the toss, quipping that England had made 11 changes before forgetting the names of two of the five debutants – Crawley and Gregory the unfortunate duo.
Days after England’s camp was in disarray it was Pakistan’s batting line-up in crisis as Mahmood set the tone by removing Misbah-ul-Haq lbw with the first ball of the match and then had Babar Azam caught by Crawley at second slip with his third delivery.
A score of 0-2 quickly became 17-3, then 26-4 as Mohammad Rizwan nibbled at a Gregory delivery that eased away and Mahmood beat Saud Shakeel for pace to trap the debutant lbw for five.
Fakhar (47) remained unflustered, unfurling fulsome drives and powerful pulls yet no stroke was as devastating as Sohaib Maqsood’s six over extra cover off Craig Overton (2-23).
The Pakistan pair countered some penetrative England bowling with thrusting strokeplay, forging a fifth-wicket stand of 53 only for Maqsood (19) to be run out by James Vince at the non-striker’s end after being sold a dummy by his team-mate.
Eleven runs later Fakhar’s flamboyant knock came to an abrupt end when he attempted to belt a short and inviting Matt Parkinson (2-28) delivery over point only to find the hands of Crawley.
Pakistan inched past 100 before Faheem Ashraf became the seventh man out – Mahmood picking up his fourth wicket courtesy of a simple snick through to Simpson.
At 101-7 the tourists decided to go fully on the offensive with Shadab Khan (30 off 43 balls) launching Parkinson for six and Hasan Ali (six) swinging the bat – all be it with little success as he was caught in the deep by Malan off Parkinson after being dropped by the same fielder on one.
Malan was back in business at deep square as Shadab miscued to hand Overton his maiden ODI wicket on his second appearance and the Somerset bowler doubled up when Shaheen Afridi – dropped the ball before – skied a simple chance to Stokes at mid-off.
England vs Pakistan
July 10, 2021, 10:30am
England bristled with early intent at the start of their reply – Salt crunching Hasan through the covers for four only to nick off to first slip attempting an ambitious drive.
Crawley had his stumps shattered by an Hasan yorker when he had just one, safe in the knowledge it was a free hit, and had the best view as Malan punched Shaheen for four off the back foot before driving a second boundary off the over.
Pakistan’s luck remained out – Crawley getting a leading edge over cover on 14 – as the pair eased to a fifty-run stand off 45 balls before Malan reached a run-a-ball fifty off a bottom-edged boundary.
Crawley posted his maiden ODI fifty on debut off 44 balls courtesy of his seventh four, a neatly- played square drive behind point, by which point the result was a formality.
Watch the second ODI between England and Pakistan live on Sky Sports Cricket from 10.30am on Saturday.
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