Azam and Rizwan steer Pakistan to incredible 10-wicket win


Babar Azam hit 110 not out and Mohammad Rizwan an unbeaten 88 as Pakistan pulled off a remarkable 10-wicket victory over England to level the sides’ Twenty20 series at 1-1.

Chasing 200, Pakistan’s opening pair produced a batting masterclass in Karachi to seal the win with three balls to spare.

Babar reached a sublime century from 62 balls, delighting the raucous home crowd, while Rizwan hit four sixes in a whirlwind 51-ball knock.

It meant Pakistan set a new record for the highest chase in all men’s T20s without losing a wicket.

England, who had never previously lost a T20 by 10 wickets, were put to the sword – Alex Hales’ drop of Rizwan on 23 proving crucial.

The tourists had looked heavy favourites at the halfway stage when racking up 199-5 as Moeen Ali smashed 55 not out from 23 balls and Ben Duckett an enterprising 43.

The sides play again in less than 24 hours with the third match of the seven-match series taking place on Friday, again in Karachi.

This series was already historic for being England’s return to Pakistan for the first time in 17 years. Babar and Rizwan, Pakistan’s supreme captain and vice-captain, have ensured its place in the record books.

In the end a challenging total was reached with relative ease, a reflection of the brilliant way the pair paced the chase.

The previous highest target reached without losing a wicket was 169, by New Zealand against Pakistan in 2016.

In smashing that record the Pakistan openers, who now have a record seven century stands at the top of the order, started well without being overly destructive – they were 87-0 after 10 overs – before launching an assault.

They took 21 from the 13th over, bowled by England skipper Moeen Ali, including three big leg-side sixes.

Babar was put down on 91, by Sam Curran who leapt one-handed on the mid-wicket rope, but by the time that tough chance came the game was all-but done.

More crucial was Hales’ miss when running back from mid-off off the bowling of left-arm spinner Liam Dawson, and Phil Salt’s missed stumping chance off Adil Rashid which would have seen Rizwan go for 32.

Pakistan needed three from the final over and, after taking two singles, Babar drove David Willey for the winning runs from the third ball.

It silenced doubts around his form – Babar had not hit a fifty in seven T20 innings – and sets the series up perfectly after England’s comfortable win in the opener on Tuesday. (BBC)

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