England bounce back from awful start to beat Pakistan in opening T20

England recovered from a nightmare start to beat Pakistan in their first assignment of the summer, drawing first blood in the three-match T20 series with a 53-run win at Edgbaston.

Aiming to get on a run with the Women’s T20 World Cup in October hoving into view, England stumbled out of the traps after being asked to bat first on Saturday as they lurched to 11 for four inside three overs before captain Heather Knight stabilised the innings with 49 off 44 balls.

The hosts finished strongly, led by Danielle Gibson’s unbeaten 41 off 21 deliveries, to post a competitive 163 for six before Pakistan reached 77 for three at halfway as they looked to set their new record chase in the format.

However, Pakistan’s pursuit never recovered from Sadaf Shamas being run out for 35 off 24 balls and they lost their last seven wickets for just 31 runs as they were all out for 110 in 18.2 overs.

Sarah Glenn was the pick of the England attack with four for 12 in her first international appearance since leaving the recent tour of New Zealand early after suffering a concussion, while Lauren Bell chipped in with three for 22.

Sophie Ecclestone, the women’s top-ranked T20 bowler, claimed one for 17 to equal Katherine Sciver-Brunt’s England record 114 wickets in the format.

Ecclestone also contributed 19 not out in an unbroken 44-run stand alongside Gibson to lift England beyond 150 after Knight had put on 67 with Amy Jones, who followed up her 37 from 27 balls with four important catches behind the stumps.

Knight and Jones steadied the ship following England’s limp start which saw Maia Bouchier, fellow opener Danni Wyatt and Alice Capsey all perish to catches in the ring while their malaise was summarised when Freya Kemp was run out after a mid-pitch mix-up with Knight.

Amy Jones followed up 37 off 27 balls with four catches behind the stumps (Richard Sellers/PA)
Amy Jones followed up 37 off 27 balls with four catches behind the stumps (Richard Sellers/PA)

Jones, in her 100th T20, attacked with aplomb but top-edged a sweep to depart, although Gibson upped the ante alongside Knight, with the pair putting on 41 in just 19 balls.

Knight was unable to get to her half-century after miscuing to mid-on but Gibson and Ecclestone made sure no momentum was lost as England added 85 runs in the last 44 deliveries, ensuring that Nat Sciver-Brunt’s absence because of a minor medical procedure did not ultimately cost them.

Pakistan made a bright start and sat on 57 for two after the powerplay – England were on 29 for four by contrast – but Sadaf’s run out was followed by the home side’s spinners turning the screw.

Glenn took two wickets in the space of three balls before Bell wrapped up Pakistan’s innings to give England a 1-0 lead, with the series resuming on Friday at Wantage Road.