England vs Pakistan Series: James Vince hit his first 100 international as England chased 332 power against Pakistan to complete a cleaner 3-0 in a one-day series.
Vince, who has often been criticized for his consistency, hit 102 balls off 95 balls as his side won by three wickets, despite being ahead by 158 Pakistani captain Babar Azam.
After the start of the chase, England was 165-5 in the 24th over before Vince scored 129 with Lewis Gregory to cheer Edgbaston’s raging crowd.
With 38 runs needed from 48 balls, Vince hit Haris Rauf to midfield and Gregory fell to 77 off 69 balls in a nearby Power’s bowler to set a tackle finish.
But the inexperienced Craig Overton and Brydon Carse took England and won with two overs left.
It was the most successful chase in Edgbaston after Pakistan scored 331-9 in their 50 overs – an innings built on 179 draws between Babar and Mohammad Rizwan, who hit 74 off 58 balls.
The victory gives England world champions the highest points as they look to win the 2023 World Cup. The teams meet in the next three Twenty20 series, which starts on Friday.
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The chance for Vince to play in the innings would not have come but the Covid-19 appearance that knocked out the whole of England’s first team.
Few players have taken as much airtime as he has in recent years – England fans were often frustrated that he could not transfer his undeniable talent from home cricket to the international arena.
But at Edgbaston Vince had to fill the role of a great player. By the time captain, Ben Stokes was caught behind a spinner sweeping Shadab Khan, 181 runs were still needed from 180 balls.
A quick start is given to Phil Salt (37 from 22 balls), Zak Crawley’s 34-ball 39 and Stokes ’32 from 28 gave Vince and Gregory space to breathe.
The couple hit logically but always seemed to want to attack and were able to use Pakistan’s low bowling and set boundaries.
Vince’s innings were full of high-quality strokes that were not on the sidelines. While raising his hundred from 91 balls he put his belt in the air in a ceremony full of relief.
Gregory had just hit two sixes on either side of his leg before Vince fell, but in the end, the unwise drive didn’t matter.
This was the innings he finally brought to England.
Babar masterclass in vain
Babar’s innings will go down as one of the biggest losses in ODI cricket.
He was chased by a duck and Saqib Mahmood lost 19 to his team in the first two games but here he responded with a skillful knock.
How Pakistan was at odds with England – they started the patient before rushing through their innings.
He was tied down by Mahmood and, after losing Fakhar Zaman to six, took Babar 15 balls down and used 72 deliveries to 50.
However, the man with the right hand on his right hand went well with the gears, from 50 to 100 on 32 balls, and hit his 50 runs with 31 deliveries.
Matt Parkinson produced an excellent transfer to Imam-ul-Haq’s pit of 56, but Babar, who came in first in the ODIs, played him well.
He hit a six-legged spinner straight and nailed the England seamers midfielder in the middle of the wicket while the ball was short, at 179 with Rizwan.
Babar was eventually dismissed for his highest score in the final over, being held as a short third-person after badly batting Brydon Carse’s ball.
Durham fast bowler Carse claimed 5-61 as Pakistan lost seven wickets by 37 runs in the last five overs.
Surprised Pakistan was punished again
The defeat proved to be a nightmare for Pakistan, as they were again beaten by England’s second team.
They should have had enough runs but were punished for doing unexpected things with the ball and on the field.
The opening on top sets the tone as Salt beats Shaheen Afridi by four innings. Hassan Ali started the second over with three wides in a row.
The installation of the stadiums was as bad, with three fish caught, as well as overturned and poor stadiums.
Stokes was dropped twice, out of seven followed by 18, which did not matter in the end.
Most importantly the Imam was throwing Gregory at 10 on the extra cover, where he unnecessarily walked with one hand instead of two.
‘Excellent church’ – they say
England captain Ben Stokes: “Our effort, not just today but throughout the series, has been good.
“They came out and showed up, and that’s exactly what I was asking them to do at the start of the series. No one has taken the step back.”
Pakistan captain Babar Azam: “We started well but we were lazy on the pitch.
“We had opportunities but we couldn’t spend money because of our practice. We will learn from our mistakes and hopefully, we will never do it again.”
Outstanding player in the game, England striker James Vince: “It’s a pleasure to contribute, this time last week I didn’t expect to get this opportunity. I’m very happy.”
The player of the series, England’s fastest striker Saqib Mahmood: “It’s been a very special week. I’ve been given the responsibility to pick up a new ball and to regain that faith, I’m very happy.”
Former England batsman Ian Bell in Test Match Special: “Regional cricket should get a lot of credit. Pulling a team together in a church shows the depth of the offer – it’s great.”