October 26, 2016

England edge out Pakistan in thrilling super over

England Cricket Team

England prevailed with a ball to spare in their first ever Twenty20 Super Over last night to complete a 3-0 series whitewash against Pakistan, and take their winning streak to six matches, reports The Independent.

A thrilling initial encounter finished in a tie after Shoaib Malik’s career-best 75 took the hosts to the brink of victory in pursuit of England’s 154 for 8.

Then Chris Jordan conceded only three runs, including two leg-byes, to Shahid Afridi and Umar Akmal, allowing Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler to seal the deal in an over from the home captain as the match finished 10 minutes before midnight local time.

Most watching thought Chris Woakes, who claimed the crucial wicket of Shoaib in the final over, would bowl the Super Over but England went with Jordan.

The Sussex man had earlier conceded 39 runs without a wicket – the most by an England bowler – but captain Eoin Morgan said that picking Jordan for the shoot-out was an easy choice.

“Handing Chris Jordan the ball in that Super Over really epitomised the squad and the development it has gone through.

“We’ve been watching him in the nets and he’s our best yorker bowler and once we knew what we were going to bowl, the decision was pretty easy. Woakesy had a different set of skills, bowling into the wicket, but once we decided on six yorkers we picked Jordan.”

Rotation has been a regular theme in the T20 series as selectors look to establish a starting XI for the Twenty20 World Cup in India next year. When asked about the rationale behind the selection, Morgan was quick to note the future as the key factor in their three-match series win.

“The rationale is long-term development. We’ve only played two series as a group [one-day and T20],” Morgan said. “With the World Cup around the corner and a lack of T20 competitions in county cricket, we want to see as many guys under pressure, away from home against a Pakistan side.

“Conditions in Dubai will be similar to those in India so we want to test ourselves as much as possible.”

Shoaib had transformed Pakistan’s initial chase as he and Afridi delighted a large home crowd in a sixth-wicket stand of 63.

But defending 10 in the final over, Woakes – who had figured in a seventh-wicket partnership of 60 in 40 balls with James Vince – overcame being clubbed for six over long-on by the tail-ender Sohail Tanvir.

Woakes then had Shoaib caught on the same boundary from what should have been the penultimate ball of the match, and a scrambled bye levelled the scores.

In England’s first patchy batting performance, after Morgan won the toss, Vince was starved of the strike throughout but top-scored with 46.

David Willey took 3 for 36 in Pakistan’s reply. But Shoaib raced to his fourth Twenty20 International 50 in 39 balls, with eight fours and two sixes, and Afridi typically hit three maximums in his 29 from 20.

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