Saqib Mahmood’s four-wicket haul helped a replacement look England cruise to an emphatic nine-wicket convert Pakistan within the first one-day international at Cardiff on Thursday.
Player of the match Mahmood took an ODI best 4-42 as Pakistan were skittled out for just 141 with quite 14 overs left to bat.
England, the reigning 50-over world champions, finished on 142-1 to travel 1-0 up during a three-match series before Saturday´s clash at Lord´s.
Dawid Malan was 68 not out after a run-ball fifty.
Together with Test batsman Zak Crawley (58 not out), one among five ODI debutants within the England team, he shared an unbroken stand of 120 as a match scheduled for 100 overs finished during a mere 67.1
England was fielding a totally changed XI from their previous ODI — the primary time this had happened to any side within the 50-year history of the format — after a Covid-19 outbreak within their existing squad during a recent 2-0 series win reception to Sri Lanka required all 16 players originally selected to play against Pakistan to self-isolate.
In addition, injuries to the likes of fast bowlers Jofra Archer and Olly Stone and wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler meant they were effective without two first-choice XIs.
Yet their ‘C team’ dominated from the instant Mahmood took a wicket with the primary ball of the match — then dismissed Pakistan captain Babar Azam, the world’s top-ranked ODI batsman, for a duck with the third ball.
Such was England’s command, stand-in captain Ben Stokes bowled only one over despite the planet Cup-winner being the foremost experienced member of the attack.
England made a sensational start when Mahmood snared Imam-ul-Haq lbw with the primary ball after a review ordered by Stokes confirmed the delivery had pitched in line.
Two balls later, Mahmood had a prize wicket when Azam edged to Crawley at second slip, with Pakistan yet to attain a run.
And when Mahmood had Pakistan debutant Saud Shakeel lbw for five, the tourists were 26-4 from seven overs.
But Fakhar Zaman counter-attacked to the delight of Pakistan fans during a crowd limited to 2,251 by Welsh government virus restrictions.
The left-handed opener hit several fine boundaries, including an outstanding straight chase away debutant fast bowler Brydon Carse.
New batsman Sohaib Maqsood, in his first ODI for five years, flat-batted Carse over extra-cover for 6.
But a promising stand of 53 led to farcical fashion when non-striker Maqsood, lured down the pitch by the advancing Zaman’s involve one, was undone when his partner suddenly stopped, with James Vince running him out for 19.
Pakistan, restricted to intra-squad instead of tour matches, badly needed the in-touch Zaman to stay going.
However, his innings of 47, including six fours, ended tamely when a miscued stop leg-spinner Matt Parkinson lobbed gently to backward point.
And when Mahmood had Faheem Ashraf caught behind, Pakistan was 101-7.
England debutant opener Phil Salt — born in Wales but now with Sussex — fell cheaply when he edged Shaheen Shah Afridi to first slip.
But Malan made a run-a-ball fifty, with Crawley — following a run of low scores at Test level — even quicker to the landmark.