Brook and Duckett sparkle before Wood fires England to big win

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England Beat 221 for 3 (Brook 81*, Duckett 70*) Pakistan 158 for 8 (Masood 65*, wood 3-24) at 63 runs

England took all the telling blows in another pulse-pounding match in Karachi, riding the back of a century-old grandstand between Harry Brook and Ben Duckett before a blistering return to national colors from Mark Wood helped to torpedo Pakistan’s response. A total of 221 for 3 was the highest total conceded by Pakistan in T20Is, the 63-run margin of their biggest defeat to England.

Brook and Duckett both took the first T20I in the 1950s in a record fourth-wicket tie for England in the format, the pair belie their relative inexperience at this level to add 139 from just 69 deliveries. Brook’s form was particularly sparkling, as he cut eight fours and five sixes not to end up with 81 of just 35 deliveries – a 231.42 pass rate. Duckett produced his best at bats in an England shirt with an unbeaten 70 out of 42.

Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan had brought in 200 while barely sweating the night before, and were key men for Pakistan as they tried what would have been a record hunt. But Wood and Reece Topley, two of the three England changes to the XI, cleared both openers for single-digit scores and Pakistan quickly fell out of contention with 28 for 4 in the last left of the power play.

Shan Masood and Khushdil Shah put 62 for the fifth wicket to avoid the score turning to defeat, Masood went on to record a first T20I of half a century but Adil Rashid struck twice and Wood finished 3 for 24 while England regained the series lead with a thumping victory.

Wood fires the defense
Though England piled up the points after being put in, another raucous crowd watched in anticipation as Babar and Rizwan walked out together, barely 24 hours after the record-breaking 203-run uninterrupted opening score that had tied the series. But hopes of an encore were quickly dashed, as England’s reformed attack snatched Pakistan’s cream of the crop.

The first cut was the deepest, as Wood immediately ramped up the pace to a level none of his compatriots can match. His fourth throw was from a length into the channel outside, encouraging Babar to open shoulders – but with 147 kph / 91 mph heat on the ball, the Pakistan batter could only manage a thick edge that led to the deep third. rose where Topley calmly held a head-high catch. Silence fell over the National Stadium as Babar trudged away.

Topley then cleared Rizwan in the next over with a slower delivery that pinged leg stump, and Wood had his second a ball later when Haider Ali split another rocket on a square leg. Wood’s last senior appearance in any form came at the Antigua Test in March, his summer ruined by two elbow surgeries; but any doubt that he could still be a powerful weapon at the T20 World Cup was immediately dispelled by a spell clocking him at 156.2 kph/97 mph, the value of his extra throttle rarely more explicit.

England’s new engine room
In this series, it was far from certain that both Brook and Duckett would play in the middle order. The latter is not on England’s T20 World Cup squad and has not been restricted in any form since 2019, while Brook took advantage of the absence of Liam Livingstone and Ben Stokes in Pakistan to add to his four previous appearances. Both showed a glimpse of what they were capable of in the first two T20Is, before kicking it up a notch here.

They came over together in the ninth, after Will Jacks’ sparkling debut innings of 40 out of 22 ended with a flyout in the deep end. As in the second T20I, Duckett kept close to his quest to bring down the spin during the midovers, bringing out an assortment of sweeps and paddles – both orthodox and reverse – while Brook relied on a more textbook technique for a series of eye-catching shots.

His fifth and seventh balls, bowled by Usman Qadir, were sent over the ropes, the first straight across the ground and the next over extra cover when the bowler tossed him wide from the stumps. Haris Rauf, once a team-mate of Yorkshire and Lahore Qalanders, for whom Brook scored the second-fastest PSL hundred earlier this year, was brusquely hooked on six, as England started following at ten o’clock with plenty of time left in the innings . Shahnawaz Dahani’s third over went for 16 as Brook raced to a 24-ball fifty.

Duckett carved his own half-century, of 31 balls, into the next and Rauf briefly stopped Brook in his tracks with a bouncer that got stuck in the grille of his helmet. But they were gone again, when Duckett slammed Mohammad Hasnain over the deep square leg showing Brook both power and precision, forcing Dahani for a straight six, then deftly sent a follow-up Yorker wide from the keeper. Dahani finished 0 for 62, the second most expensive analysis by a Pakistani bowler in T20Is.

Masood massages the margin
With Babar and Rizwan nestling at the top of the order, Masood has had to take his chance wherever he can find a place. The 32-year-old scored 7 out of 7 at number 4 on his debut in the first T20I, and seemed unsuited to the demands of trying to forge a spot in Pakistan’s ever-changing middle-class roster, where the openers’ methodically run- looting often requires those who come after to repel immediately.

It may have been a lost cause, but Masood’s performance on this occasion suggested he had the means to survive. He played free against England’s two spinners, twice throwing Rashid over the ropes and going to a 28-ball fifty with another six from Moeen Ali, outperforming both his partners, Khushdil and Mohammad Nawaz, during consecutive 50-plus stands that Lifting Pakistan from shame. And perhaps his smartest move was to make sure he only encountered three balls from Wood.

Alan Gardner is deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick

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