Ahead of the ODI series between England and Pakistan, we look back at some of the most fascinating recent encounters.
With the conclusion of PSL 2021, Pakistan’s limited-overs squads are ready to begin a white-ball tussle against England, comprising of three ODIs and as many T20Is. While the T20I series marks the beginning of Pakistan’s final preparations leading into the T20 World Cup later this year, the 50-over games bear significance, too, as Pakistan look to solidify its white-ball sides under a leader who is relatively young at the helm – Babar Azam.
Of the 48 ODIs that Pakistan have played against England in England since the format’s inception, they have won 16 and lost 30. The trend has been similar in the last decade or so, with Pakistan winning only 5 of the 17 matches against the hosts since 2010. While the head-to-head records skew in favor of England, there have been some unforgettable encounters between the two teams of late. Encounters that have encapsulated fascinating duels, neck-to-neck matchups, and extraordinary individual brilliance. In this article, we take a trip down memory lane and reminisce over the five most memorable ODI matches between the two teams in England since 2010.
The Oval, 2010 – Pakistan won by 23 runs
After being two-nil down, Pakistan came roaring back into the series on the back of an inspirited bowling spell from Umar Gul. In defense of their insubstantial first innings total of 241 runs, Pakistan commenced impressively – scalping preys regularly and stemming the flow of runs.
England were left reeling at 103 for 5 before Eoin Morgan and Luke Wright stitched together what looked like a match-winning partnership of 98 runs. However, the game turned on its head in the 39th over when Morgan nonchalantly chipped a leg-stump half-volley from Gul straight down deep midwicket’s throat. The wicket of an in-set batsman spurred Pakistan to life.
Gul made full use of a slightly roughed-up Duke’s ball and castled Tim Bresnan with a whooping reverse-swing delivery three balls later. By the time Gul rattled Stuart Broad’s middle-stump and had Graeme Swann caught at short extra cover, the game was all but done and dusted for England. Gul finished with remarkable figures of 6/42, his career-best effort in ODI cricket.
Trent Bridge, 2016 – England won by 169 runs
Pakistan were in a similarly dire situation in 2016 when they touched down in Nottingham, hoping to revive their campaign in an ODI series in which they were trailing by two-nil. However, it turned out to be all so different as the visitors ended up conceding the then highest-ever team total in ODI cricket.
Alex Hales set the tone for the home side; his scintillating 171 off 122 balls not only propelled England to a mammoth total of 444 runs, but it was also the then highest individual score by an Englishman in an ODI match. Records were smashed left, right, and center with all of Pakistan’s bowlers copping heavy stick. Wahab Riaz, in particular, was taken to the cleaners – leaking an extraordinary 110 runs from his quota of 10 overs.
In reply, Pakistan started the run-chase explosively courtesy with a whirlwind half-century by Sharjeel Khan. It was, however, too much of an ask, and the Men in Green soon succumbed and staggered to 275 runs all out.
Sophia Gardens, 2017 – Pakistan won by 8 wickets
In their quest to attain Champions Trophy glory in 2017, Pakistan, the nethermost-ranked side in the competition, relied heavily on its mercuriality throughout their roller-coaster campaign. However, their most complete performance came in the first semi-final against England, where Pakistan stunned the hosts with a near-perfect display, outplaying them in all three departments.
It was the same English outfit that had thumped Pakistan 4-1 in an ODI series a year ago and that had developed into an almighty white-ball force since its humiliating exit from the 50-over World Cup in 2015. England, who had developed a routine of accumulating totals in excess of 300, were bundled out for a meager 211. A star-studded batting line-up labored through a major part of the innings against a relentless Pakistan attack. Hasan Ali was the chief destroyer, taking 3 wickets for 35 runs and was well supported by the likes of Rumman Raees and Junaid Khan.
Pakistan breezily chased down the target with the openers, Fakhar Zaman and Azhar Ali, stringing together a 118-run stand to provide them with a solid base. By churning up this upset victory, the Sarfaraz Ahmed-led team booked themselves for The Oval, where they eventually won the all-important final.
Trent Bridge, 2019 – England won by 3 wickets
There were quite a few close, high-scoring encounters between Pakistan and England in the ODI series prior to the 2019 World Cup. None better than the 3rd ODI at Trent Bridge, however, which went right to the wire and had several eminent performances from both teams.
Batting first, Pakistan put up a gargantuan total of 340 runs with sizable contributions throughout the batting order. Babar Azam’s sublime century was the highlight as he combined with Fakhar Zaman and Mohammad Hafeez for two century stands to steer Pakistan to an above-par total.
In response, Jason Roy’s belligerent batting laid the foundation for England. Despite a mini-collapse in the middle overs, Roy kept England in the hunt and brought up his century in the process. When he was eventually dismissed while trying to hook, England’s pursuit seemed to be derailing. However, the duo of Ben Stokes and Tom Curran steadied the ship and saw the hosts home with three balls to spare. England claimed an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series over Pakistan.
Trent Bridge, 2019 – Pakistan won by 14 runs
Trent Bridge played host to yet another England-Pakistan ODI classic, this time in the 2019 World Cup. Just over three weeks after notching up 340 on the same venue, Pakistan bettered themselves by setting England a massive target of 349.
Pakistan’s batting order was under the limelight following their horror show against West Indies, where the pacemen from the Caribbean annihilated them. Imam-ul-Haq combined with his opening partner, Fakhar Zaman, and together, the two put up a stable opening stand of 82 runs. There were hefty contributions throughout the batting order, with Mohammad Hafeez the stand-out for his 84 off 62 balls that shifted the momentum in Pakistan’s favor at the halfway mark.
England were dealt an early blow in their run-chase when Jason Roy was adjudged plumb in front. Pakistan’s target would have been impregnable against most oppositions but not against this English batting order. Joe Root kept the scoreboard ticking along and brought up a century. He was well supported by Jos Buttler, who also struck a century as England dragged the game deeper into the innings. However, it was the demise of Buttler off Mohammad Amir’s bowling that proved to be the killer blow for the hosts. Wahab Riaz and co. kept their cool to ensure that England’s tail did not wag and secured a much-needed victory for Pakistan.