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KARACHI: Pakistan pacer Haris Rauf said the spirit within the team was high after they secured a nail-biting victory over England on Sunday night to level the seven-match series at 2-2 ahead of the three decisive fixtures in Lahore.
Haris was at his devastating best at the death on Sunday as Pakistan snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, dismissing Liam Dawson and Olly Stone on consecutive deliveries in the penultimate over as the hosts edged past England by three runs to successfully defend the lowest ever total of 166-4 at the venue.
While it wasn’t a rip-roaring performance from Pakistan, the grandstand finish to the game saw the players backing each other in pursuit of victory.
“Every player goes through challenging periods during their career and as a team we back players who are enduring bad patches,” Haris told a post-match news conference.
“Those who are here are because of their ability to win matches and we believe in them as team-mates,” added Haris with the players in the current squad set to be the ones who will represent Pakistan at next month’s T20 World Cup in Australia.
“In cricket, everyone takes their time to learn and especially in T20 cricket, there can be good and bad days. What’s important is to believe in your own abilities.”
In an eventful 19th over, Dawson — who had smashed 24 runs off the previous over by Mohammad Hasnain — had swatted away Haris for a boundary of the second ball to take England five runs away from victory.
But Haris pulled Pakistan back in the game when his bouncer saw Dawson hole out to mid-wicket and he then cleaned up debutant Stone.
Haris was denied a hat-trick on review when his searing yorker hit Reece Topley on his boot but the England tailender was run out in the final over to spark Pakistan’s celebrations.
“It was an important match of the series and the approach was to never give up and thankfully we won it,” said Haris.
“When Dawson was playing Hasnain, I was observing his playing style and bowled to him according to a plan and got his wicket. I was confident about bowling well against the tailenders and believed that we will win the match from there.
“It’s the beauty of T20 cricket that the momentum sways from one team to another.”
England head coach Matthew Mott, meanwhile, said his the close finish is a learning curve for his side ahead of the remaining matches and the T20 World Cup.
“For us it was a fantastic opportunity to see ourselves under pressure and see how we coped,” Mott told reporters. “I thought we did it pretty well. They got over the line but we’ll draw plenty out of that experience
“It just shows in T20 you’ve never got the game done and Rauf’s over was outstanding under pressure and he bowled his team to victory.”
England captain Jos Buttler hasn’t featured in the series yet as he recovers from a calf injury but Mott said they will not take any risks with the batsman so close to the T20 World Cup.
“With regard to Jos, he’s still a while off, he’s not a player we want to take a risk on at this stage, so close to the World Cup, and it was a reasonably significant injury that he had,” Mott told reporters.
“So, he’s champing at the bit for a game, but we’ll just try and see how we go and maybe in the last game or two we might give him a chance.”
Mott, however, added that his players will be looking to win the series to take crucial momentum to the World Cup.
“We want to win the series as it’s important for us to get some momentum going in to the World Cup,” he said, adding that the seven-match series offered his side a chance “to tinker the team” ahead of the tournament.

KARACHI: Twenty-four hours later, Pakistan were blown away. Faced with a bigger, more daunting target, they couldn’t muster a response.

Only Shan Masood offered any semblance of resistance, his 66 not out sparing Pakistan a bigger margin of defeat.

This will lead to more questions over the fragility of Pakistan’s middle order.

When the duo fell quickly on Friday, this was a chance for the middle order to rise to the ocassion. Apart from Shan, no one made most of the chance on offer as Pakistan succumbed to a 63-run loss in the third Twenty20 International.

This time, there was an eerie silence at the National Stadium. Packed to the brim for the third game in a row, the home fans first saw their bowlers hit to all parts of the ground — explosive unbeaten half-centuries by Hary Brook (81) and Ben Duckett (70) powering England to 221-3 — before looking on as their batters fell like dominoes.

“We didn’t bowl well and once we had 222 to chase we needed a good start but losing four wickets inside six overs wasn’t ideal,” said Babar. “We need to fix that in the next game.”

England skipper Moeen Ali, meanwhile, hailed a “brilliant win”.

“We were ruthless with the bat and the way Brook and Duckett batted they showed they are two very good young players and then the bowling was outstanding,” he said.

The fit-again England fast bowler Mark Wood (3-24) was unrelenting and once he sent Babar — who hit a memorable ton a day earlier — back to pavilion early on, Pakistan never looked like hitting back.

In contrast, England had gone off to a flying start thanks to Will Jacks, whose 40 off 22 deliveries was laced with eight fours. After losing his opening partner Phil Salt early, before also seeing Dawid Malan fall, Jacks became England’s third batter to be dismissed when he was undone by Usman Qadir’s googly.

He’d nevertheless set the tone for an onslaught by Brook and Duckett. England were 89-3 at the halfway stage of their innings but Brook danced down the wicket twice to launch two towering sixes off Usman in the 11th before Duckett swept for two more boundaries off Mohamamd Nawaz in the next over, the slow left-armer’s last.

Two more boundaries followed in the 13th over bowled by Usman and Pakistan’s hopes that the duo would relent with the reintroduction of pace in the 14th were quickly dashed as Brook hooked Haris Rauf for a massive six.

Duckett showed it wasn’t only playing spin that he was so good at, when he exposed his off stump and scooped Mohammad Hasnain for his first boundary off a fast bowler.

It was then Shahnawaz Dahani’s turn to face the fire and the pacer conceded 16 runs as Brook used his pace to guide the ball past the wicket-keeper and then through gully for two boundaries. The right-hander then smashed Dahani for a huge six over mid-wicket before squeezing a yorker for another four through the offside to bring up his maiden T20I 50 in 24 balls.

Duckett too registered his first international 50 in the following over, bringing it up in 31 balls before taking on Hasnain for his first six and following it with another boundary.

Dahani conceded 19 runs in his last over to register the second most expensive figures by a Pakistani in T20Is, leaking 62 runs in four overs.Duckett and Brook’s partnership of 139 off 69 balls was the highest by a fourth wicket pair for England.

Pakistan had to start off like they did in the previous game to match the mammoth score, the highest ever scored against them.

Babar looked like he was in the mood when he smashed Wood through the covers for his first boundary, but ended up finding Reece Topley at third man to depart after scoring only eight runs.

Rizwan then missed a slower one by Topley — the left-armer playing his first match of the series — and saw his stumps dislodged after scoring eight.

Wood returned to surprise Haider Ali, who came in at three, surprising the right-hander with a bouncer and creating a catching opportunity at square-leg which Adil Rashid grabbed with both hands.

The dismissal saw Shan walk on to the crease just before Iftikhar Ahmed miscued a hit off Sam Curran to go off.

Khushdil Shah (29) joined Shan as the stands started to empty but the departing fans missed a decent effort by the duo after Pakistan were 29-4 by the end of the powerplay.

The pair scored 42 runs in the next four overs to take Pakistan to 75-4 by the tenth over.

However, after Khushdil found Brook at long-on off Adil Rashid in the 12th, any hopes there were for Pakistan were all but over. Shan did bring up his maiden T20 half-century off 28 balls in the 16th over, but by then it was too late for the hosts.

Scoreboard

ENGLAND:

P. Salt c Nawaz b Hasnain 8

W. Jacks c Nawaz b Usman 40

D. Malan c Haider b Usman 14

B. Duckett not out 70

H. Brook not out 81

EXTRAS (LB-2, W-6) 8

TOTAL (for three wickets, 20 overs) 221

DID NOT BAT: Moeen Ali, S. Curran, L. Dawson, Adil Rashid, M. Wood, R. Topley

FALL OF WICKETS: 1-18 (Salt), 2-61 (Malan), 3-82 (Jacks)

BOWLING: Hasnain 4- 0-36-1 (2w), Nawaz 4-0-34-0, Dahani 4- 0-62-0 (2w), Haris 4-0-39 (1w) Usman 4-0-48-2

PAKISTAN:

Babar Azam c Topley b Wood 8

Mohammad Rizwan b Topley 8

Haider Ali c Rashid b Wood 3

Shan Masood not out 66

Mohammad Nawaz c Brook b Rashid 19

Iftikhar Ahmed c Topley b Curran 6

Khushdil Shah c Brook b Rashid 29

Usman Qadir run out Moeen 0

Haris Rauf c Curran b Wood 4

Mohammad Hasnain not out 2

EXTRAS (LB-5, NB-1, W-3) 9

TOTAL (for eight wickets, 20 overs) 157

DID NOT BAT: S. Dahani

FALL OF WICKETS: 1-17 (Babar), 2-21 (Rizwan), 3-21 (Haider), 4-28 (Iftikhar), 5-90 (Khushdil), 6-142 (Nawaz), 7-143 (Usman), 8-149 (Haris)

BOWLING: Dawson 1-0-7-0, Topley 4-0-22-1, Wood 4-0-25-3 (1w), Curran 4-0-37-1 (2w), Rashid 4-0-32-2, Moeen 3-0-30-0 (1nb)

RESULT: England won the match by 63 runs.

SERIES: England lead the seven match series 2-1.

PLAYER-OF-THE-MATCH: Harry Brook.


KARACHI: Midway thro­ugh their pursuit of 159 in their first match in Pakistan since 2005, England’s Alex Hales made his first mistake.
The explosive opener, playing his first international match after three years, played a flat shot off Pakistan spinner Usman Qadir straight into the hands of Shan Masood at mid-wicket but got an instant reprieve as the debutant spilled it.
England did lose Ben Duckett two balls later, but the arriving Harry Brook carried his team across the finish line with four balls and six wickets to spare in the first of the seven Twenty20 Interna­tionals here at the National Stadium on Tuesday.
The right-hander, who won the Pakistan Super League with Lahore Qalandars earlier this year, ended up unbeaten with 42 off 25, hitting seven fours in his knock.
With the comfort of having Hales at the other end, Brook ensured England kept the asking rate under control and launched his match-winning onslaught with a straight hit off an Usman full toss in the 13th.
After negotiating slow left-armer Mohammad Nawaz with care in the next over, Brook plundered pacer Shahnawaz Dahani for two fours before Hales celebrated his survival by bludgeoning the right-armer down the ground for another boundary.
Brook showed no respect for Pakistan pace spearhead Naseem Shah as well, when he crafted three boundaries off the right-armer in the following over.
Fast bowler Haris Rauf did get Hales in the 17th, but that was too late for Pakistan with England needing just 16 off 18. A boundary by England’s stand-in skipper Moeen Ali and two more by Brook took England over the line.
Hales, who managed 53 off 40, had set the base for England earlier in the innings.
The right-hander, who plays for Islamabad United in the PSL, gave the visitors momentum in the powerplay despite losing fellow opener Phil Salt to Dahani in the third over, thanks to an acrobatic fielding effort at square-leg by Haider Ali.
Hales put up short partnerships of 34 off 23 and 34 off 27 with Dawid Malan and Duckett respectively before the duo was undone by Usman to allow Brook to arrive in the middle.
Unlike England, the better part of Pakistan’s innings came too early.
The hosts’ struggles against spin and their over reliance on the openers came to light once again as they failed to convert a blistering start by captain Babar Azam (31 off 24) and Mohammad Rizwan (68 off 46).
The Pakistan captain showed the elegance and class he is known for, starting the innings with a whip across his legs for a boundary.
The packed stands at the National Stadium chanted Babar’s name as he dispatc­hed Sam Curran through the leg-side again before Rizwan grabbed the crowd’s attention when he cut David Willey with utter dominance before whipping one through square-leg against his Multan Sultans team-mate.
The Pakistan openers kept scoring freely, only until England leg-spinner Adil Rashid bamboozled Babar with an unplayable googly that castled the right-hander in the 10th over, leaving Pakistan at 87-1 by the end of it.
Despite the in-form Rizwan was still at the crease, Pakistan’s run-rate dipped with spinners operating from both ends.
Rizwan’s six against Rashid in the 12th over was Pakistan’s only boundary scored between the dismissals of Babar and Haider, who came into bat and number three before getting caught at deep square leg off Curran in the 14th.
The incoming Shan struck a boundary through extra cover off Moeen Ali in the 15th before Rizwan was undone by a stumping three balls later after adding 68 off 46.
Shan’s debut was spoiled when the left-hander fell to Rashid in the next over with Pakistan at 127-4 by the end of the 16th over.
It left Iftikhar Ahmed and Mohammad Nawaz with the job to provide the final flourish.
Iftikhar did raise hopes of that when he muscled Willey over long-on for a big six, only to see Nawaz losing his stumps to Luke Wood’s pace and swing five balls later.
Wood eventually accounted for Iftikhar (28) in the final over, but after getting hit for another maximum before the pacer dismissed tailender Naseem.
The sub-par score eventually meant Pakistan were unable to celebrate England’s long-awaited return to the country with a victor
Scoreboard
PAKISTAN:
Mohammad Rizwan st Salt b Moeen 68
Babar Azam b Rashid 31
Haider Ali c Willey b Curran 11
Shan Masood c Gleeson b Rashid 7
Iftikhar Ahmed c Duckett b Wood 28
Mohammad Nawaz b Wood 4
Khushdil Shah not out 5
Naseem Shah c Curran b Wood 0
Usman Qadir not out 0
EXTRAS (W-4) 4
TOTAL (for seven wickets, 20 overs) 158
DID NOT BAT: H. Rauf, S. Dahani,
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-85 (Babar), 2-109 (Haider), 3-117 (Rizwan), 4-120 (Shan), 5-137 (Nawaz), 6-156 (Iftikhar), 7-157 (Naseem)
BOWLING: Willey 4-0-41-0 (2w), Curran 4-0-30-1, Wood 4-0-24-3, Gleeson 2-0-13-0, Rashid 4-0-27-2 (1w), Moeen 2-0-23-1 (1w)
ENGLAND:
P. Salt c Haider b Dahani 10
A. Hales c Babar b Haris 53
D. Malan c & b Usman 20
B. Duckett lbw b Usman 21
H. Brook not out 42
Moeen Ali not out 7
EXTRAS (LB-2, W-5) 7
TOTAL (for four wickets, 19.2 overs) 160
DID NOT BAT: S. Curran, D. Willey, Adil Rashid, L. Wood, R. Gleeson
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-19 (Salt), 2-53 (Malan), 3-87 (Duckett), 4-142 (Hales)
BOWLING: Naseem 4-0-41-0 (1w), Nawaz 4-0-20-0, Dahani 3.2-0-38-1, Haris 4-0-23-1, Usman 4-0-36-2
RESULT: England won by six wickets.
SERIES: England lead the seven match series 1-0.
PLAYER-OF-THE-MATCH: Luke Wood


The national cricket team will sport a special jersey in the first T20 match against England today “to raise awareness about the devastation caused by the floods in the country”, according to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
Record monsoon rains in south and southwest Pakistan and glacial melt in northern areas have triggered the flooding that has affected nearly 33 million people, killed more than 1,540 people, sweeping away homes, crops, bridges, roads and livestock and causing an estimated $30 billion of damage.
Fast bowler Shahnawaz Dahani tweeted a picture of himself wearing the jersey, which is a shade of blue, as opposed to the typical green palette.
Of seven-T20 match series, the first four matches are in Karachi on September 20, 22, 23 and 25 with the final three in Lahore on Sept 28, 30 and October 2.
England, the current 50-over world champions, are also scheduled to play a Test series in Pakistan in December followed by the return of New Zealand.
England had been originally scheduled to arrive in October last year but cancelled at short notice after New Zealand pulled out of a tour citing safety concerns.


TENSION gripped the British city of Leicester on Saturday after young men from the Muslim and Hindu communities took to the streets to express their indignation over, what both groups alleged, manhandling of members of their fraternity, the BBC reported.
Police said they had made two arrests and that violence flared up after “an unplanned protest” — the latest in a series of several incidents following the Pakistan-India match during the Asia Cup on Aug 28.
Police will maintain a “significant presence” in the disturbed areas indefinitely.
Suleman Nagdi, of the Leicester-based Federation of Muslim Organisations, said while talking to the BBC: “What we have seen on the streets is very alarming.
There have been problems in the community since the India-Pakistan cricket match and while such games often spark gatherings, they have not in the past turned this ugly.
“We need calm. The disorder has to stop and it has to stop now. There are some very dissatisfied young men who have been causing havoc.”
Sanjiv Patel, who represents the Hindu and Jain communities across Leicester, said he was saddened by Saturday night’s disorder.
“We have lived in harmony in the city for many decades, but over the past few weeks it is clear there are things that need to be discussed around the table to get out what people are unhappy about.
“Across the Hindu and Jain communities and with our Muslim brothers and sisters we are consistently saying ‘calm minds, calm heads.”
He warned people to be wary of disinformation on social media.
Police said they had detained one man on suspicion of “conspiracy to commit violent disorder” and another on suspicion that he “possessed a bladed article”.
Leicester city mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said it was important that community leaders tried to de-escalate the situation, but he acknowledged it was a challenge to reach out to young people.
Community leaders were on the ground with police officers and called for calm, advising people to go home. Police said they had carried out “a large number of searches” in several neighbourhoods.
“Several incidents of violence and damage have been reported to the police and are being investigated,” a spokesperson said.
“We are aware of a video circulating showing a man pulling down a flag outside a religious building on Melton Road, Leicester.
“This appears to have taken place while police officers were dealing with public disorder in the area. The incident will be investigated.”
A woman who saw Saturday’s disturbances said there were people in balaclavas, with masks over their faces and hoods pulled up.
In an interview with BBC she said they were just everywhere. It was like crowds walking away from a football match.


LAHORE: Former international umpire Asad Rauf passed away after a cardiac arrest on Wednesday night. Asad, who was 66 years old and was once on the International Cricket Council’s elite panel of umpires, was laid to rest here on Thursday.
Asad, one of the most prominent Pakistani umpires, officiated 64 Test matches, 139 One-day Internationals and 28 T20Is. His first Test assignment came in 2005, a year before he was elevated to the ICC elite panel, where he maintained his spot until 2013.
Asad’s umpiring career at the first-class level started in 1998 and he officiated his first international match, a one-dayer, in 2000.
Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Ramiz Raja paid tribute to Asad on Twitter, stating: “Saddened to hear about the passing of Asad Rauf. Not only was he a good umpire but also had a wicked sense of humour.”
“He always puts a smile on my face and will continue to do so whenever I think about him,” added Ramiz. “Many sympathies with his family for their loss.”
Top Pakistani umpire Aleem Dar and Mian Aslam also paid tribute to Asad as a cricketer and an umpire and expressed their sorrow over his demise. Asad also played 71 first-class and 40 List A matches as a middle-order batter.


KATHMANDU: The moment Pakistan had been waiting for finally arrived in the 40th minute against the Maldives on Tuesday: the first goal for the national women’s team in eight years.
After that, the floodgates opened as Pakistan scored six more times with Nadia Khan getting four in the second half in a landslide 7-0 victory in their last Group ‘A’ match of the SAFF Women’s Championship here at the Dasharath Rangasala Stadium.
Finally, they could savour a victory; their first since 2014 and their biggest ever having opened the tournament with losses against India and Bangladesh respectively.
“This is the perfect launch pad for us … it doesn’t get better than this,” Pakistan’s head coach Adeel Rizki told a post-match press conference with the women’s team having missed out on international football for the best part of the last decade due to institutional crisis in the Pakistan Football Federation.
Even participation in this tournament would not have been possible had the FIFA suspension on Pakistan not been lifted in June.
“We could’ve said we couldn’t do this as we had very little time to prepare,” added Rizki. “But we took this opportunity by the scruff of the neck and had a camp for the last month. It wasn’t easy but we did everything possible to be here.
“We’re going to continue [with this momentum]. We will take a break after going back home and then we’ll try to get some national tournaments going and try to arrange more matches for the team.”
Already out of semi-final contention, Pakistan were looking to end the tournament on a high and tore apart the Maldives once Rameen Fareeed’s long-range effort beat goalkeeper Aminath Leeza on the bounce for the opening goal.
Khadija Kazmi doubled Pakistan’s lead three minutes into the second half from the penalty spot before Nadia took over with goals in the 53rd, 78th and the 84th, leaving the Maldives defence trailing in her wake with her pace.
“Previous two matches, we had different oppositions … teams that had been together for a long time,” Nadia, who plays for Doncaster Rovers Belles in England’s fourth tier, told reporters after the match.
“We had different strategies but in this game we knew that we have the ability to attack more but I still believe it’s the togetherness and belief in each individual players and trusting each other as well that pushed us through.”
Nadia added a fourth in the 90th minute before substitute Anmol Hira completed the rout in the fifth minute of stoppage time to leave Maldives winless at the tournament and notch up Pakistan’s biggest victory since their 4-1 win over Bhutan back in 2014.
Later, Bangladesh took first place in the group after a resounding 3-0 win over India, who have won all five editions of the tournament.
Jahan Shopna scored twice while Srimoti Krishnarani Sarkar scored the other goal as Bangladesh inflicted India’s first loss in the history of the SAFF Women’s Championship.
Bangladesh stunned India by taking the lead in the 12th minute when Srimoti’s brilliantly-weighted through ball was finished off by Jahan, who turned provider 10 minutes later as Srimoti found the back of the net.
Jahan got her second in the 53rd, this time converting from skipper Sabina Khatun’s pass as Bangladesh set up a last-four clash with Bhutan on Friday, when India will face hosts Nepal for a place in the final.

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