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Late drama as Pakistan level T20 series against England


Pacer Haris Rauf and Mohammed Nawaz took three wickets each as Pakistan edged England by three runs in a rollercoaster finish to the fourth Twenty20 International in Karachi on Sunday to square the seven-match series at 2-2.

In-form opener Mohammad Rizwan struck a fluent 88 to help Pakistan to 166-4 before a packed National stadium. Later, Rauf removed Dawson (34) and Olly Stone off successive balls in the penultimate over before Pakistan ran out Reece Topley to claim an unlikely win.

Rizwan lived up to his billing as the world’s top-ranked T20 batsman. His 67-ball knock had nine boundaries and a six after Pakistan were sent in to bat by England. He put on 97 for the opening wicket with Babar Azam (36), who hit three boundaries in his 28-ball innings.

However, England pulled back the scoring rate once Azam was holed out to spinner Dawson in the 12th over. The Pakistani middle-order, faltered again with Shan Masood (21) and Khushdil Shah (2) falling cheaply.

Rizwan was finally caught off in the 19th over off Topley, who finished with 2-37. Asif Ali smashed two sixes in the final over of the innings to give the total some respectability for Pakistan, who with this match became the first team to play 200 T20Is.

England got off to a horror start when they lost their first three wickets in the first two overs – two of them going to Hasnain (2-40) – before the in-form pair of Ben Duckett and Harry Brook set out to revive the chase.

Duckett perished for a well-struck 33, but Brook (34) and skipper Moeen Ali (29) kept England in the hunt before Nawaz (3-35) and Mohammad Wasim (1-30) delivered a double blow to put Pakistan in command.

And in a topsy-turvy contest, Dawson threatened to snatch victory from Pakistan when he took 24 runs over off Muhammad Hasnain in the 18th over, but the hosts held their nerve with a gritty bowling display at the death.

Rauf (3-32) removed Dawson and Stone off successive deliveries in the penultimate over before Pakistan ran out Topley to claim an unlikely win, triggering euphoric scenes at the National Stadium.

“We had decided that we would not give up to England. We followed the game plan and achieved success. In the 19th over, I bowled as planned and got the wickets,” Rauf later told reporters at a post-match press conference.

Rauf attributed the victory to teamwork, saying that everyone played an important role. “Muhammad Hussain’s wicket-taking in the powerplay was the turning point” the pacer said. “The cricket fans of Karachi were very supportive. Glad we met their expectations,” he added.

The series against England, who are on their first tour of Pakistan for 17 years, was now levelled at 2-2. Both the teams would now head to Lahore for the remaining three matches. The fifth game will be played on Wednesday.

AGENCIES


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