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England levels T20 series with 45-run win against Pakistan

July 18, 2021 GMT
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England players celebrate their win in the second Twenty20 international cricket match against Pakistan at Headingley in Leeds, Sunday, July 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
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England players celebrate their win in the second Twenty20 international cricket match against Pakistan at Headingley in Leeds, Sunday, July 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

LEEDS, England (AP) — England’s spinners proved too much for Pakistan to handle in the second Twenty20 on Sunday with a 45-run win for the hosts leveling the three-match series at 1-1.

Having broken with tradition by including Adil Rashid (2-30) and Matt Parkinson (1-25) as twin leg-spinners at Headingley, England saw the pair seize control of the match with a defining spell that slammed the breaks on Pakistan’s chase.

Between them the duo allowed just 55 runs and took three wickets from eight controlled overs, backed up by Moeen Ali’s off-breaks which accounted for another two batters.

The tourists were eventually stranded on 155-9, well short of England’s 200 all out in 19.5 overs, after Pakistan won the toss and chose to field.

Jos Buttler played a defining hand in England’s innings, top-scoring with 59 after returning as captain in place of the rested Eoin Morgan. His 39-ball innings included seven fours and two sixes.

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The first T20 international in Leeds had started with an action-packed first over, Jason Roy smashing Imad Wasim for six and four before spiraling a catch to short third man.

Mohammad Hasnain took key wickets for Pakistan — including the dismissal of Buttler, who drilled straight to mid-off, and that of Mooen (36 off 16) — but he was expensive and finished with figures of 3-51 off four overs. The runs conceded included Buttler scooping Hasnain over his shoulder for an outrageous six.

The chase started steadily, Babar Azam (22 off 16) and Mohammad Rizwan (37 off 29) chipping off 50 with controlled flashes of aggression. Babar, as always, was the prize wicket and it was Saqib Mahmood who claimed it. Dragging back his length and taking pace off after being hit over the top, he saw an attempted drive plug to mid-off.

Shadab Khan hit an undefeated 22-ball 36.

The third T20 is on Tuesday at Manchester.

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