England thrash Pakistan in final World Cup warm-up

Fourth T20, Kia Oval

Pakistan 157 (19.5 overs): Usman 38 (21), Babar 36 (22); Livingstone 2-17, Rashid 2-27

England 158-3 (15.3 overs): Salt 45 (24), Buttler 39 (21)

England won by seven wickets


England signed off for the T20 World Cup with a seven-wicket thrashing of Pakistan at The Oval.

On a confidence-boosting night before their title defence, England dismissed Pakistan for 157 with an excellent all-round bowling performance, and cantered to their target in 15.3 overs.

Phil Salt and captain Jos Buttler put on 82 in 6.2 overs, making 45 and 39 respectively, while Jonny Bairstow took England home with 28 not out.

Earlier, Mark Wood bowled a rapid opening burst in combination with Jofra Archer and finished with an eye-catching 2-35 on his first appearance since March.

Pakistan openers Babar Azam and Muhammad Rizwan countered England's electric start but when Archer had Babar caught with the final ball of the powerplay the tourists slipped from 59-0 to 82-5.

Adil Rashid was typically effective in taking 2-27 while Liam Livingstone took 2-17, including the important wicket of Usman Khan for 38, as England restricted Pakistan with regular wickets.

With the momentum of this 2-0 series win behind them, England fly to the Caribbean on Friday and are next in action in the opening match of their World Cup defence against Scotland in Barbados on Tuesday.

England head off with confidence boosted

After two washouts earlier in the series, England could have asked for little more in their final match before defending the T20 crown they won in Melbourne 18 months ago.

The reliability of their bowling attack, in terms of its quality and fitness, is the biggest question mark going into the World Cup but at The Oval they were superb.

Wood, who has been nursing a knee niggle, hit 95mph with his second delivery and Archer was not much slower. Their opening spell hinted at the mouth-watering prospect of what could be to come.

Chasing a target well below par, Phil Salt and Jos Buttler made a rampant start and hit a six apiece in taking 25 from Naseem Shah’s second over.

Wicketkeeper Azam Khan dropped Salt on 34 and later Will Jacks, who made 20 before being bowled by a fierce Haris Rauf yorker, on eight in a messy Pakistan performance.

Salt, the hard-hitting early aggressor, picked out deep mid-wicket and Buttler, who was in enterprising form, was caught behind, but that only gave England’s middle order much-needed time at the crease.

Bairstow planted Shadab Khan for back-to-back straight sixes and Harry Brook won the match by clearing the ropes to finish 17 not out.

England made a dismal defence of their 50-over World Cup title last year. This performance should give them confidence of making a better fist of retaining the T20 edition.

Wood impresses on return

Wood and Archer found early swing but Babar and Rizwan started well by attacking the width offered among the lively short balls.

When Archer, himself getting four more overs in the legs in only his second international in more than a year, had Babar caught at short third for a 22-ball 36, the game ran almost entirely in England’s favour.

Rashid bowled Rizwan for 23 and Shadab Khan for a first-ball duck, while Wood bounced out Azam, who also failed to score.

Usman attempted a recovery but he holed out to a fine catch from Chris Jordan at long-on in a double-wicket maiden from Livingstone for 38.

Wood removed tailender Naseem Shah with another fierce bouncer, while Adil Rashid took an excellent steepling catch to dismiss the dangerous Fakhar Zaman.

Pakistan, whose only positive was Haris Rauf’s 3-38, have plenty to ponder after a poor World Cup build-up, not that that has stopped them upsetting the formbook in major tournaments before.