New-look England thrash Pakistan in ODI

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A makeshift England team have put COVID-19 issues behind them to thrash Pakistan by nine wickets in their one-day international series opener at Cardiff.

Stand-in skipper Ben Stokes led an England XI including five debutants after a COVID-19 outbreak in the squad during the recent series win over Sri Lanka meant all 16 players initially selected had to self-isolate.

But the revamped hosts were on the front foot from the start, with paceman Saqib Mahmood marking his return to the side with 4-42 to help bowl out Pakistan for 141 with just under 15 overs to spare.

England lost Phil Salt in the fifth over before fellow opener Dawid Malan and Zak Crawley steadied the ship to draw first blood in the three-match series.

Malan (68 not out) brought up his second half century in his fourth ODI and Crawley hit an unbeaten 58 on ODI debut as England cruised home in 21.5 overs.

"It was a very clinical performance," said Stokes after leading the team to victory despite having spent only one training session together on match eve.

"Any time you get the opposition four down early on then you're massively ahead in the game so that helps -- especially when you're captain for the first time.

"Not every game of cricket goes that smoothly for us."

England made a rousing start with the ball as Mahmood trapped Pakistan opener Imam-ul-Haq LBW with the match's first delivery.

Two balls later, Mahmood picked up his second wicket when Pakistan skipper Babar Azam - the top-ranked ODI batsman - departed for a duck after edging to Crawley at second slip.

Mohammad Rizwan was next to be dismissed for 13 before Mahmood trapped Saud Shakeel in front to leave Pakistan teetering at 4-26.

Opener Fakhar Zaman, who was making a return to the ground where he made a 50 in Pakistan's 2017 Champions Trophy semi-final win over England, offered stiff resistance with Sohaib Maqsood as they added 53 runs for the fifth wicket.

The partnership, however, ended with a farcical run out when Fakhar called Maqsood for a single and then left him stranded as James Vince flicked the bails.

Pakistan's hopes of posting a competitive total ended with Zaman (47) miscuing a square-cut straight to point off leg-spinner Matt Parkinson.

"To be honest we were a bit loose with the bat, and that's why we didn't get a big total," Azam said.

The teams now head to Lord's for the second ODI on Saturday.

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