|Second Twenty20 international, Karachi|
|England 199-5 (20 overs): Moeen 55* (23), Duckett 43 (22); Rauf 2-30|
|Pakistan 203-0 (19.3 overs): Babar 110* (66), Rizwan 88* (51)|
|Pakistan win by 10 wickets; level series 1-1|
Babar Azam hit 110 not out and Mohammad Rizwan an unbeaten 88 as Pakistan pulled off a remarkable 10-wicket victory over England to level the sides’ Twenty20 series at 1-1.
Chasing 200, Pakistan’s opening pair produced a batting masterclass in Karachi to seal the win with three balls to spare.
Babar reached a sublime century from 62 balls, delighting the raucous home crowd, while Rizwan hit four sixes in a whirlwind 51-ball knock.
It meant Pakistan set a new record for the highest chase in all men’s T20s without losing a wicket.
England, who had never previously lost a T20 by 10 wickets, were put to the sword – Alex Hales’ drop of Rizwan on 23 proving crucial.
The tourists had looked heavy favourites at the halfway stage when racking up 199-5 as Moeen Ali smashed 55 not out from 23 balls and Ben Duckett an enterprising 43.
The sides play again in less than 24 hours with the third match of the seven-match series taking place on Friday, again in Karachi.
Babar & Rizwan secure famous win
This series was already historic for being England’s return to Pakistan for the first time in 17 years. Babar and Rizwan, Pakistan’s supreme captain and vice-captain, have ensured its place in the record books.
In the end a challenging total was reached with relative ease, a reflection of the brilliant way the pair paced the chase.
The previous highest target reached without losing a wicket was 169, by New Zealand against Pakistan in 2016.
In smashing that record the Pakistan openers, who now have a record seven century stands at the top of the order, started well without being overly destructive – they were 87-0 after 10 overs – before launching an assault.
They took 21 from the 13th over, bowled by England skipper Moeen Ali, including three big leg-side sixes.
Babar was put down on 91, by Sam Curran who leapt one-handed on the mid-wicket rope, but by the time that tough chance came the game was all-but done.
More crucial was Hales’ miss when running back from mid-off off the bowling of left-arm spinner Liam Dawson, and Phil Salt’s missed stumping chance off Adil Rashid which would have seen Rizwan go for 32.
Pakistan needed three from the final over and, after taking two singles, Babar drove David Willey for the winning runs from the third ball.
It silenced doubts around his form – Babar had not hit a fifty in seven T20 innings – and sets the series up perfectly after England’s comfortable win in the opener on Tuesday.
England put to the sword
England’s bowlers had impressed in the first T20 but here they were unable to threaten or stop the flow of runs on a pitch that became faultless after looking tricky early on.
Leg-spinner Rashid was not his usual self – he was hit for two sixes and three fours in a three-over spell which cost 34 runs – while the left-arm pace attack of Sam Curran, Luke Wood and David Willey offered little.
Wood, so impressive in taking three wickets on debut on Tuesday, was handed the penultimate over with 20 runs needed but conceded 17 including three wides.
England are without a host of frontline bowlers who they will hope are fit for next month’s World Cup, such as Mark Wood, Chris Woakes, Chris Jordan and Reece Topley. Wood’s pace and Jordan’s ability to stem the flow of runs was particularly missed.
Little fault can be put on the batters, who propelled England to a good score.
After Hales and Dawid Malan were bowled in consecutive balls by seamer Shahnawaz Dahani, Ben Duckett impressed with an innings of sweeps and reverse sweeps, hitting seven fours and no sixes.
The 27-year-old was bowled by Nawaz attempting another sweep but afterwards Moeen powered England on.
The left-hander slog-swept leg-spinner Usman Qadir for back-to-back sixes early on as he put on 59 with Harry Brook, who sparkled again for 31 from 19 balls.
Moeen repeated the feat off the final two balls of the innings, off the pace of Mohammad Hasnain, to reach his half-century but that knock was soon overshadowed by the brilliance of Babar and Rizwan.
‘Unstoppable’ – reaction
England captain Moeen Ali: “The pitch didn’t do as much as we thought it would. We batted well and the first 10 overs we bowled OK.
“We dropped a big catch as well. The momentum went their way when I bowled my over. They had the momentum and after that they were unstoppable.”
Former England bowler Steven Finn on Test Match Special: “I felt as though 160 would have been a good score and tricky to chase down. Both bowling attacks will go away and have a look at things.”