England captain Moeen Ali insisted a one-over “gamble” on his own off-spin was the deciding moment after a match-winning masterclass from Pakistan duo Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan.
The home side chased down a target of 200 in sensational fashion at Karachi’s National Stadium, as Babar’s unbeaten 110 and 88 not out from Rizwan got them over the line without losing a single wicket.
England will be concerned about the lack of incision from their bowling attack, but the two chances they did generate against Rizwan were squandered as Alex Hales dropped him on 23 and Phil Salt spurned a stumping on 32, while despite bowling just six deliveries in the innings Moeen attempted to take the blame on behalf of his team.
England in Pakistan
|Third T20I||Friday, September 23||National Stadium, Karachi||3.30pm BST|
|Fourth T20I||Sunday, September 25||National Stadium, Karachi||3.30pm BST|
|Fifth T20I||Wednesday, September 28||Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore||3.30pm BST|
|Sixth T20I||Friday, September 30||Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore||3.30pm BST|
|Seventh T20I||Sunday, October 2||Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore||3.30pm BST|
He brought himself on for the 13th over and leaked 21 runs, including three sixes, as Pakistan moved themselves into a dominant position.
“The momentum changed when I bowled my over. That really gave them the belief and after that they were almost unstoppable,” he said after the home side made it 1-1 after two games.
“I felt like it was under control for most of it. I genuinely feel my over lost the game for us. That was a gamble on my part.
“I went to try and get a wicket, almost buy a wicket. Obviously it didn’t work and that’s when Pakistan really won the game.”
“We dropped a big catch obviously. You can’t afford to drop them and you can’t afford to bowl an off-spinner to them at such a big time,” he added.
Moeen paid tribute to Pakistan’s batting heroes, who both started the series in the top three of the world rankings, and hit back at some of the criticism they have been subjected to from their own fans.
They were lambasted by local pundits for not scoring quickly enough at the recent Asia Cup, but could hardly have envisaged a more perfect response.
“They played really, really well tonight,” said Moeen. “I know they get a lot of stick for their strike-rates but I believe their strike-rates are very good anyway and they are brilliant players.
“Sometimes media outlets pressure players even when they’re doing well. They were brilliant and today it was their day.”
What will Jos Buttler learn from Pakistan T20I series?
Michael Atherton told Sky Sports: “[Buttler] made it clear before this series that he wanted to be out there. We don’t expect him to play much part in it, if any part of it at all, but he said ‘I want to be here’ so close to the World T20 in Australia. This is the time you want to get your plans in place.
“You want to get to know the new players in the side like Will Jacks and Luke Wood – all these guys you don’t know as characters so well and you don’t know how they play under pressure.
“You get to know and feel when you see players close-up in the dressing room before 25-30,000 people who all want the other side to win and you get a sense of how players deal under pressure, so that’s what Jos Buttler will gain from this series.”
England’s T20 World Cup campaign in Australia
|England vs Afghanistan||Saturday, October 22||Perth Stadium, Perth|
|England vs Qualifier (B2)||Wednesday, October 26||MCG, Melbourne|
|England vs Australia||Friday, October 28||MCG, Melbourne|
|England vs New Zealand||Tuesday, November 1||The Gabba, Brisbane|
|England vs Qualifier (A1)||Saturday, November 5||SCG, Sydney|
England do not have long to lick their wounds, with back-to-back fixtures meaning the third of the seven games takes place on Friday night, with changes likely among the bowling attack.
Watch England’s tour of Pakistan live on Sky Sports. Live coverage of the third T20 international starts at 3pm on Sky Sports Cricket and Sky Sports Main Event this Friday, September 23 from 3pm