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ENG v PAK, 4th ODI Review: England come one step closer to achieving a white wash

Ben Stokes
England’s Ben Stokes gestures to the crowd as he walks back to the pavilion. (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

England continued to dominate Pakistan after they registered yet another fantastic win, beating them by 4 wickets in tricky chase at Headingly, Leeds to go up 4-0 in the 5-match series. The hosts had to work hard a bit than the previous game before they could get one step closer to achieving a possible clean-sweep.

Pakistan showed a hint of competitiveness but they still weren’t good enough to match the hosts prowess in the game. All-rounder Ben Stokes scored a finely-composed 70-ball 69 while local boy Jonny Bairstow hit a fifty in a tricky chase. Moeen Ali played an important hand towards the end and sealed the game with a big six.

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The Pakistani fast bowlers, who were thrashed left, right and center a couple of days ago, made a remarkable comeback and gave a tough time to the Englishmen to keep Pakistan’s chances of winning alive. Batting first, the Men in Green, led by their skipper Azhar Ali’s fantastic 80 and a fighting 57 from all-rounder Imad Wasim, posted target of 248 for the hosts to chase. England, in reply, were unable to press their authority in this game this time after the top order failed to deliver.

Mohammad Irfan, the like for like replacement for the rested Mohammad Amir, made a quick impact on the opposition, snapping both the openers on short time. Jason Roy failed for the second consecutive time while last match’s centurion Alex Hales also was dismissed for a single digit score.

All eyes were on Joe Root and skipper Eoin Morgan, the other two batsmen who devastated the opposition. But, unfortunately, the duo, too, failed after Hasan Ali and Umar GUl provided Pakistan the upper hand in the 12th and the 15th over.

It seemed that the hangover of the Trent Bridge run fest wasn’t over yet for Root as he looked in a little aggressive mood despite watching both his openers walk back from the other end. He found success with that approach for a while before the same approach became the reason for his departure.

Also read – Mohammad Kaif calls for Yuvraj Singh’s help

Root misjudged the length and picked the wrong ball to pull and top edged one to the deep fine leg area where the towering Irfan completed simple catch. Pakistan, officially, were on the drivers’ seat after Morgan nicked one to the Sharjeel Khan at the slips off Umar Gul an over later.

The task was now up to the middle order to handle the Pakistanis and complete the chase. And, they did not disappoint. Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow came together and carried forward the chase for the home side. Both avoided the mistake which Joe Root made and show no urgency in taking their team over the line. Both played a sort of balanced knocks and planned their innings really well to take England from a shaky 72/4 in 14.3 overs to a comfortable 175/5 in 34.1 overs before they got separated after the fall of Ben Stokes

Ths 103 runs stand for the 5th wicket set the stage for the chase. But, the game was still nobody’s at that time and Pakistan still had a great chance. The spinners were bowling really well and kept things under their control. But, Bairstow and Ali played them out smartly to stitch a fifty run stand between them and take the ‘Three Lions’ close to victory. The stand virtually threw Pakistan out of the contest but the interest factor remained alive when Bairstow was run out.

But, Ali did not let the dismissal have any great impact and moothly nailed target batting with David Willey with 2 overs and 4 wickets to spare.

Brief Scores:

Pakistan: 247/8 in 50 overs (Azhar Ali 80; Adil Rashid 3/47)

England: Ben Stokes: 252/6 in 48 overs (Ben Stokes 69; Mohammad Irfan 2/26)

Man of the Match: Jonny Bairstow

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