England v Pakistan, 4th ODI – 5 Talking Points

England v Pakistan, 4th ODI – 5 Talking Points

 Jonny Bairstow of England
Jonny Bairstow of England. (Photo by Mitchell Gunn/Getty Images)

Both England and Pakistan were coming into the 4th ODI at Headingley, Leeds on the back of a historic game. While the English team created a world record, the Pakistanis suffered it. Skipper Azhar Ali won the toss and probably wanting to change the momentum decided to bat first. His openers couldn’t justify the decision but he stood his ground and with little support from everyone who walked in and back ensured they posted a total of 247 for 8 in their batting knock.

Unlike what has happened thus far in the ODI series, Pakistan bowlers for the first time had England under pressure as they were 4 down with just 72 on the board. Mohammad Irfan who was drafted in this game as an obvious replacement for Wahab Riaz was effective and inspired in the few that he bowled. Two early wickets that of both the English openers gave them gave them an opening but he couldn’t continue with cramps and had to leave the field.

The 103-run partnership between Stokes and Bairstow ensured the home team  stayed in the game. It wasn’t the smoothest of chases for England in recent times but one that determines the character of the unit. In the end, after suffering the early jitters and some nervy moments in the middle the lower order saw them through the target with 4 wickets and 12 balls in hand.

1. Azhar Ali’s resilience:

The Pakistan ODI skipper was under fire heading into the game. After their failure to pose the slightest of defiance against the English team former players have already started to ask for a change in ODI leadership. To give his team a better chance in the game Ali decided to bat first. He walked in early after Sharjeel Khan fell on the team score of 24. Had brief partnership with Sami Aslam, Babar Azam, Sarfaraz Ahmed and Mohammad Rizwan but none stood the ground for longer to stitch something substantial.

He played the captain’s part with a knock of 80 from 104 deliveries during which he hit 5 fours and 2 sixes. Azhar anchored the inning, ensured they weren’t wrapped up for an under par total and gave his bowlers something to bowl at and challenge the Englishmen.

2. Imad Wasim’s unbeaten run:

While the entire top and middle order failed apart from skipper Ali it was Imad Wasim who played a knock that gave Pakistan some hope and more importantly runs that took the team total not just over 200 but also close to 250. Wasim’s 57 off 41 balls was a knock that saw him play some crisp shots and during his entire stay was really good with his timing. He 7 fours and a six in the inning and reached his fifty in just 32 balls.

He stayed unbeaten at the end of the overs’s. With that he now has scored 137 runs in 3 innings in this series and he hasn’t been dismissed yet. He made 17* in Southampton, 63* at Lord’s and 57* in this game.

3. Ben Stokes stands up:

Ben Stokes would be a frustrated cricketer by now, he has been in great touch, performing both with the bat and ball but before he can ride on the form and extend his patch it has all been hampered by injuries. In this game though he had a good time, in his 4 overs he gave just 15 runs and returned to take up the duty while chasing the target. Stokes scored 69 off 70 with 6 fours and 2 sixes. The times were tough as the top order had failed; there was no Joe Root, no Eoin Morgan or Jos Buttler lower down to give them a push.

Though he played a complementable inning, Stokes had a stroke of luck when Mohammad Rizwan dropped a tough chance at deep-square leg while he was batting on 37. He made the most of it and reached his first fifty in an international game since February. He also had a really good chance of getting to his maiden ODI ton but was caught in the deep by Babar Azam off Imad Wasim.

4. Jonny Bairstow the last minute resort:

To start with, Jonny Bairstow wasn’t a part of the plan but had to me rushed in after Jos Buttler pulled a quadriceps muscle during the warm-up session ahead of the game. Bairstow had been in fine form during the Test series earlier on the tour and had played some quality knocks to have not just enhanced his reputation as a wicketkeeper batsman but also boosted his confidence having delivered for the team at the highest level. He played a perfect partner to Stokes and scored 61 runs off 83 deliveries with the help of four 4s and a six. It was this partnership that gave England the solidity and energy to bypass the total. Bairstow was dismissed just at the edge of the win and failed to complete the winning formalities.

Also read – Pakistan announce squad for T20I against England

5. Moeen Ali’s day as an all-rounder:

Moeen Ali once again stood up and furnished when his team needed him. First with the ball he bowled his quota of 10 overs and gave away just 39 runs also picking two crucial wickets that of Babar Azam and Mohammad Nawaz. He and Adil Rashid who also enjoyed bowling on the Headingley track since it gripped just a little bit and had some turn to offer held things together so well that Pakistan batsmen had little space to breathe. Rashid finished with 3 wickets in his 10 overs for 47.

He walked in the chase at a crucial juncture. England weren’t too far away from the target but another wicket would have put them under pressure. Ali understood the situation, applied himself and put together 45 runs from 48. He hit just one boundary but two sixes to finish off the game with David Willey after they lost Bairstow just at the doorsteps of victory.