7th over: Pakistan 68-0 (Rizwan 41, Babar 26) Oooh, Rizwan advances and misses the fuller delivery from Adil Rashid but Salt fails to gather the ball for a stumping chance. Short and down the leg-side from Rashid a few balls later, which Rizwan helps along for four, and it’s soon back-to-back boundaries after a tidy sweep behind square from the Pakistan gloveman.
6th over: Pakistan 59-0 (Rizwan 32, Babar 26) Dropped! Dawson tosses it up, Rizwan comes down and doesn’t get the right connection, sending the ball up high into the night sky. Hales, dropping back from mid-off, juggles but can’t hold on. And then the kicker: Rizwan comes down the track again but nails it this time, smashing it for six over long-on. Dawson then drops short to Babar, who rocks back and pulls for four. Just the Powerplay Pakistan needed.
5th over: Pakistan 46-0 (Rizwan 23, Babar 22) Terrific from Rizwan, fast hands flicking Willey for six behind square. Babar then makes room for an off-side thump for four. These two pretty much repeating what they did the other night.
4th over: Pakistan 32-0 (Babar 16, Rizwan 15) So just the one for Dawson as Moeen introduces Luke Wood from the other end. And that’s lovely from Babar – it’s short and wide and the Pakistan captain responds with a comprehensive cut for four. But Wood keeps things quiet from the rest of the over.
3rd over: Pakistan 25-0 (Rizwan 14, Babar 11) The left-arm revolution continues. Sam Curran replaces David Willey and after a couple of dots Babar finally breaks through, slapping the ball past mid-on, who got fingertips but couldn’t stop the boundary. The over ends with a slower ball that Babar swats for four down the ground.
2nd over: Pakistan 16-0 (Rizwan 13, Babar 3) England copy Pakistan and decide to give the left-arm spinner the new ball. Hiya, Liam Dawson. He’s on the money, too, bowling tight lines to concede just four singles.
1st over: Pakistan 12-0 (Babar 1, Rizwan 11) David Willey opens up and Rizwan follows up a cut for four with a flick between midwicket and mid-on for another boundary a few moments later. Pakistan are above the rate!
Don’t need to get the calculator out for this one – Pakistan need 10 an over. Some cracking knocks from England there, particularly from Duckett and Moeen. The former was all about delicate sweeps, manipulating spin in the middle overs. The latter showed off his immaculate bat swing, peppering deep midwicket against both spin and pace. Harry Brook excelled once again, too. Pakistan are going to have to pull off something special here.
20th over: England 199-5 (Moeen 55, Curran 10) England running hard out there, picking up two twos to start off the final over of the innings. Hasnain gives a free hit away after overstepping but Moeen can only squirt away a single. Curran gets himself off strike after a dot before Moeen plays a stunning stroke. Keeps still, and just launches a fuller ball for six over deep midwicket. And then another SIX to finish! Mo, that is unreal. This one’s short, but also stays a bit low and the pull flies away. What a knock from the England captain, who went to fifty with that final shot off just his 23rd delivery. England have been truly magnificent with the bat here.
19th over: England 180-5 (Moeen 38, Curran 9) Sam Curran, now two-time County Championship winner Sam Curran, kicks off Rauf’s final over with a ramp for four. But Rauf manages to limit the damage elsewhere, with just four more runs following in the set.
18th over: England 172-5 (Curran 2, Moeen 37) Moeen moves to the leg side and Dahani follows him, but the left-hander whips away to find four at deep midwicket. A shorter ball follows and Moeen hits it straight toward Khushdil Shah at deep midwicket who… drops it! Ooof, that really should’ve been taken. Moeen picks up for four through the fine-leg region to finish the over.
Rauf goes short and Brook hooks over fine leg for another six. But Rauf ends the fun, bowling Brook, who was trying to pull off a very ambitious scoop.
17th over: England 160-5 (Moeen 27, Curran 0)
16th over: England 151-4 (Moeen 25, Brook 24) Mo is flying! He gets on top of a short ball from Hasnain to send the ball racing to the square leg boundary. He digs out a yorker for a single next ball but Brook finishes the over with an unreal six! It’s a slower ball from Hasnain which Brook makes room for to drive over long-off, over the rope. These two are having loads of fun.
15th over: England 133-4 (Brook 13, Moeen 18) Back-to-back sixes from Moeen to close the over! Both times he keeps it simple: down on the knee to smash it over deep midwicket. Moeen against spin in this format is always a hell of a watch.
14th over: England 114-4 (Moeen 1, Brook 12) An optimistic review from Pakistan goes nowhere before Brook follows up a couple with a hook off Dahani for six! 76 metres long from the Yorkshireman.
13th over: England 103-4 (Brook 3, Moeen 1) Pakistan back in the game here with the dismissals of Salt and Duckett. Time for Mo to have a go.
Big, big breakthrough. After another boundary Duckett shuffles across his crease again to open up the region behind square on the leg side. But Nawaz finally has his revenge, getting the ball to straighten and knock over the stumps.
12th over: England 96-3 (Brook 1, Duckett 39) Harry Brook is in and he’s early to show off a solid forward defence to Rauf before guiding one to third man for a single. Top over from the tearaway.
Babar decides to return to pace, calling for Haris Rauf who goes straight and fast to beat Salt’s heave. Much needed wicket for Pakistan.
11th over: England 93-2 (Salt 28, Duckett 39) Another top sweep! Duckett goes hard at Qadir’s googly to pick four more, and then… another one! This time it’s the leg-spinner and Duckett smashes it to the rope at deep midwicket. Fifty stand comes up for this pair.
10th over: England 80-2 (Salt 26, Duckett 28) Duckett really does look good on the sweep – and he can play all kinds of them. He goes orthodox to take a boundary off Nawaz’s first ball, then plays a delicate ramp for a couple. The left-hander rocks back and nails a pull a few balls later for two, and finishes with a reverse slap for four.
9th over: England 66-2 (Duckett 15, Salt 25) Qadir starting to get some proper grip from the surface. Duckett shows off his sweeps (orthodox and reverse) before Salt fails to lay a bat on a sharp leggie.
8th over: England 62-2 (Salt 24, Duckett 12) Very cheeky from Salt as a reverse sweep/dab gets him a couple from the off side. But Duckett outdoes him with the last ball of Nawaz’s over, nailing the ramp for four over the keeper’s head. That was gorgeous.
7th over: England 53-2 (Duckett 7, Salt 20) The twirl of Usman Qadir enters the game. He’s lovely to watch when he gets that googly ragging. Nothing too lethal in that over but he goes for just five.
6th over: England 48-2 (Duckett 6, Salt 16) Ben Duckett survives the hat-trick ball and picks up a couple on the leg-side to get himself going. Dahani finishes up with a cutter that Duckett isn’t fooled by – he plays a controlled pull to pick up his first boundary. Nonetheless, a cracking over for Pakistan.
Bowled him around the legs! Malan shows his leg stump and misses out on the flick as Dahani, from over the wicket, puts himself on a hat-trick. Fast and straight – the game is a pretty simple one at times.
Hales’ luck finally runs out as Dahani returns to rattle the stumps!
5th over: England 42-0 (Salt 16, Hales 26) Haris Rauf somehow hasn’t bowled Hales there – the right-hander is nowhere near it on the pull shot to one that stays low. Hales then opens up the off side to slap the ball over backward point, the ball trickling away for four more.
4th over: England 32-0 (Salt 11, Hales 21) Dahani into the attack with that very straight run-up of his. Hales after missing a pull third ball goes for a massive heave and continues to enjoy some luck – another thick edge flies to the right of the keeper for four. He’s in smash-mode tonight. Salt punches to mid-off for a single to finish the over.
3rd over: England 24-0 (Salt 9, Hales 15) After a couple of dots, Hales manages to flick leg-side and pick up four behind square. He uses his crease again next ball, getting away with a thick edge that flies for six over the third-man rope!
2nd over: England 13-0 (Salt 9, Hales 4) Cracking shot from Salt! He greets the left-arm spin of Mohammad Nawaz with a six over long-off. Hales tries to go big down the ground too but is still searching for the middle tonight.
1st over: England 3-0 (Salt 2, Hales 1) Hasnain on the pads first up, and Salt’s flick to fine leg gives him one. Some lovely shape away from the right-hander to Hales next ball, who gets off the mark with his second. Solid start from the 22-year-old, Pakistan’s only change from the other night.
Right then, we’re about to get started. David Gower’s on comms, Mohammad Hasnain’s got the ball and Phil Salt’s on strike. Let’s play.
A lovely welcome from John Starbuck: “Just a line to say welcome to the wonderful world of the OBO, where all opinions may be entertained from across the world.” Thanks for having me!
Elsewhere, Surrey have won the County Championship! Rory Burns smashed 30* off 16 balls (!) to get his side over the line in a chase of 55 against Yorkshire at The Oval. Tanya Aldred’s there taking it all in.
Pakistan: Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Haider Ali, Shan Masood, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Nawaz, Usman Qadir, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hasnain, Shahnawaz Dahani
England: Phil Salt (wk), Alex Hales, Dawid Malan, Ben Duckett, Harry Brook, Moeen Ali (c), Sam Curran, David Willey, Adil Rashid, Liam Dawson, Luke Wood
Moeen wins the toss again – but England are having a bat first tonight. One change: out goes the pace of Richard Gleeson, in comes the left-arm tweak of Liam Dawson.
Just the one change for Pakistan as well: Naseem Shah is replaced by the also very fast Mohammad Hasnain.
Hello, hello, hello. We’re back in Karachi for the second of seven – seven – T20Is between England and Pakistan.
A new-look England put up a thoroughly professional performance on Tuesday: debutant Luke Wood looked the part, bowling briskly to take 3-24, while Alex Hales marked his return from three years in exile with a half-century. Harry Brook played the best knock of his international career so far, smashing 42* off 25 in a comfortable six-wicket win. Pakistan, on the other hand, had little to smile about beyond a sparky 85-run stand between their two men up top, Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan.
But it was also one of those nights where the game was secondary. England were back playing in Pakistan for the first time since 2005. The gradual return of international cricket to these shores means a great deal to the people of this cricket-loving nation, and so there was much to celebrate during the series opener even if the hosts were below par. “Karachi put on a show tonight,” said Hales afterwards.
And now the fun continues at the NSK; expect another electric atmosphere. I’ll be back in a bit with the toss and the teams. It’s also my OBO debut so go easy on me, folks (someone sort out my cap presentation please). Slide into my DMs at @tahahash or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.