Woakes helps England win final ODI before World Cup
May 20, 2019 | 7:54 PM
by Agencies

London: England’s top order blazed away to set up a total of 351/9 before Chris Woakes’ third ODI five-for derailed Pakistan’s chase.

England captain Eoin Morgan won the toss and elected to bat, claiming he wanted to replicate losing the toss ahead of the imminent Men’s Cricket World Cup. Having laid down the gauntlet to his batting order, his charges responded in near-perfect fashion, racing to 222/2 inside 30 overs.

Jonny Bairstow and James Vince, opening in place of the rested Jason Roy, who would later be named Player of the Series, laid the platform, each chipping in brisk 30s as England raced to 95/1 inside 10 overs. But the stars were Joe Root and Morgan himself, who scored 84 and 76 respectively, scoring freely and driving England forward.

With those two going strong, a total in excess of 400 looked on the cards, but a middle order slide put paid to those hopes. Morgan and Root each hooked into the deep, Jos Buttler hit straight to backward point for a run-a-ball 34 and Moeen Ali was pinned LBW for a duck, forcing Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes to consolidate.

However, neither was able to properly turn defence into attack, each scoring at a strike rate of 72, and when Stokes fell England were 310/8, in danger of being bowled out of a below-par total. Instead, a breezy scoop-laden 29 off 15 from Tom Curran demonstrated England’s depth and dragged them past 350.

Pakistan had crossed 340 in their last three innings, and though they had lost all of those games, and the five before that, that gave them hope they could secure a consolation in. Three overs into their chase and that hope had all but been extinguished by Woakes, whose first two overs were both maidens and contained three wickets between them.

Fakhar Zaman nicked off for a duck, Abid Ali was given LBW despite reviewing, while Mohammad Hafeez also fell for a duck, not reviewing when one would have saved him.

Pakistan were 6/3 in pursuit of 352, but Babar Azam and Sarfaraz Ahmed hardly looked fazed, adding 146 to bring their side back into contention. Both fell to superb run outs, with Babar caught short by Adil Rashid’s no-look flick behind his back, and Sarfaraz failing to account for Buttler’s reflexes. His dab down to third man was intercepted by an outstretched leg, and as he set off, Buttler picked the ball up and removed the bails.

Between times, Rashid had accounted for Shoaib Malik with a diving caught and bowled, and though Pakistan’s lower order swung the bat around, England’s fielding would prove the difference. Woakes struck twice more to record his five-for, but was denied his third six-for by a perky last-wicket stand. Instead it was left to Rashid to deceive Mohammad Hasnain and Buttler to complete the stumping as England sealed a 4-0 series win with room to spare.

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