A revamped England team won the opening Twenty20 International by six wickets in Karachi on Tuesday, returning to Pakistan after 17 years with a memorable win. Opener Alex Hales celebrated England’s return to the team with a 40-ball 53 to chase down a modest target of 159 runs in 19.2 overs. Hales was banned in April 2019 after failing a recreational drug test. The win gave England a 1-0 lead in the seven-match series. Pakistan opener Mohammad Rizwan scored a 46-ball 68 to help the hosts post 158-7 runs in their 20 overs when England sent him to bat at a capacity national stadium.
Pakistani players wore a special kit with their names and numbers submerged in water to show solidarity with the flood victims in the country.
England players wore black as a tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, who died earlier this month.
Hales, who was recalled from relegation after an injury to Jonny Bairstow, hit seven fours and added 55 runs for the fourth wicket with Harry Brooke, who was dismissed for 42 not out.
Brooke, one of the seven England players to feature in this year’s Pakistan Super League, hit seven fours in his 25-ball knock.
Ben Duckett (21), David Malan (20) and Phil Salt (10) were the other England contributors.
Moeen Ali, standing in for injured tour captain Jos Buttler, praised his bowlers for pulling Pakistan back to 87-1 after ten overs.
Ali said, ‘It’s a great performance. “We pulled the game back really well. Huge applause from the bowlers who set it up well for our batsmen. Important wickets around the 10th over made the difference.
“It was not an easy wicket for the new batsmen. Luke Wood and Adil Rashid were excellent.”
Azam said that his team lost momentum in the second half of the innings.
Azam said, ‘The way we played the first power play was fantastic. “After 10 overs, there was a swing of pace, which you have to give credit to England, especially Rashid.”
Pakistan’s innings was once again in the hands of Rizwan.
Rizwan, who was the top run-scorer in the Asia Cup earlier this month with 281 runs, put on 85 runs for the first wicket with skipper Babar Azam (31) after England won the toss and fielded.
Iftikhar Ahmed hit three sixes in his 17-ball 28, but Pakistan could only manage 71 runs in the last ten overs for the loss of six wickets.
Debutant Shan Masood failed to score just seven runs while Haider Ali made 11.
Debutant England pacer Luke Wood finished with 3-24, while spinner Adil Rashid finished with 2-27.
The rest of the matches are in Karachi (September 22, 23, 25) and Lahore (September 28, 30 and October 2).
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