NOTTINGHAM: A lightning-fast opening stand of 150 in 15 overs between captain Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan found out Pakistan’s 31-run convert England within the first Twenty20 International at Trent Bridge on Friday.
Babar hit 85 from 49 balls and Rizwan 63 from 41 during a Pakistan record total of 232-6.
England, in reply, lost four wickets within the first seven overs, and their hopes flickered thanks only to Liam Livingstone, who hit a record-breaking 103 from just 43 deliveries. But he was the seventh man call at the 17th over and England was soon all out for 201 with four balls left.
England’s senior stars returned from self-isolation but did not copy the domination their second-string achieved against Pakistan within the preceding One-day International series.
While England’s big boys sat out the ODIs due to a coronavirus outbreak, a makeshift side of county players and fringe internationals overwhelmed Pakistan 3-0. With isolation over, only four of the B side were retained and none managed to contribute much.
Livingstone, from the most squad, shone together with his century during a losing effort.
Pakistan rebounded from the ODI humiliation, and after being asked to bat first, Babar and Rizwan received good support from Sohaib Maqsood (19 from seven balls), Fakhar Zaman (26 from eight), and Mohamad Hafeez (24 from 10) as they easily eclipsed their previous highest T20 International score of 205 in 2018 and last April.
England’s chase was undermined early when opener Dawid Malan and Moeen Ali were out for one run apiece.
Livingstone’s 42-ball century, the fastest by an Englishman in T20s, arrived together with his ninth six — quite the remainder of the team combined — but he was out next ball to a boundary catch by Shaheen Shah Afridi at 183-7 within the 17th over, then went England.
Livingstone’s catch was one among five on the boundary, two of them taken by player-of-the-match Shaheen, who also contributed 3-30, including a caught and bowled.
Shadab Khan also starred within the field with 3-52, a catch, and a direct-throw run out of Tom Curran.
The second game is on Sunday at Headingley, Leeds.