England defeated Pakistan by 12 runs in the second one-day international (ODI) at Southampton on Saturday, to take a one-nil lead in the five-match series.
Fakhar Zaman’s spectacular century went in vain as Pakistan were overpowered in a high-scoring contest by the home side.
While chasing a mammoth target of 374 runs, Pakistan got off to a confident start with openers Fakhar Zaman and Imamul Haq putting on a 92-run opening stand.
Imam was dismissed off the bowling of Moeen Ali, after scoring 35 runs off 44 balls.
Babar Azam and Zaman then took control of the innings and stitched a brilliant 135-run second-wicket partnership to keep Pakistan in the hunt.
But Zaman, who scored a brilliant 138 off 106 balls, and Azam, 51 off 52 deliveries, departed in quick success ion to peg Pakistan back in the run-chase.
Middle-order batsman Asif Ali’s brisk half-century, 51 runs off 36 balls, ensured that the match went down to the wire but was not enough to take the team over the line.
Captain Sarfaraz Ahmed remained unbeaten on 41 runs.
For England, David Willey was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 2-57 in his allotted 10 overs. Fellow pacer Liam Plunkett also claimed two wickets for 64 runs in his nine overs.
Earlier Jos Buttler’s stunning 50-ball century took England to 373 for three against Pakistan.
Buttler’s 110 not out featured nine sixes, including a straight drive off Hasan Ali that took him to three figures.
Such was his command that Buttler’s second fifty took him a mere 18 balls, with new father Buttler making a ‘rocking the baby’ gesture to celebrate bringing up a century that also included four fours.
An extraordinary ‘inside out’ six off Hasan over long-off was arguably the pick of his shots, although a pull off Shaheen Shah Afridi that cleared the rope and took him into the 90s was almost as impressive.
Together with England captain Eoin Morgan (71 not out) he shared an unbroken partnership of 162.
It was an encouraging display by the World Cup hosts just a few weeks from the start of the tournament and further proof of their progress as an ODI side.
Saturday’s total was the 35th time since their miserable first-round exit at the 2015 World Cup that England, now top of the ODI rankings, had posted a total in excess of 300 — a feat they had achieved only 34 times in total prior to that tournament.
A Pakistan attack missing the ill Mohammad Amir took a pounding, with Hasan conceding 81 runs from his maximum 10 overs and Afridi 80.
Earlier, Jason Roy (87) and Jonny Bairstow (51) laid a platform for the innings with an opening stand of 115 after Morgan won the toss.
Roy, fit following back trouble that kept him out of Wednesday’s washed out opener of a five-match series at his Oval home ground, hit medium-pacer Faheem Ashraf for two huge sixes — a drive over long-on followed by an extravagant uppercut over extra-cover.
But the return of left-arm quick Afridi for a second spell saw Pakistan make the breakthrough.
Bairstow pulled him for a boundary to complete a 44-ball fifty. But the next ball saw Bairstow fail to pull down and a leaping Fakhar Zaman at deep backward square leg held a good catch at the second attempt.
Following a brief rain break, Roy fell in sight of what would have been his eighth ODI hundred when he miscued a pull off Hasan to mid-on.
Test captain Joe Root made 40 before he holed out, his exit paving the way for Buttler’s blistering innings.