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Catch reviews of all the 3 matches of the ODI Series played between England and Pakistan in this topic as I couldn't cover this series on time.


1st ODI

England showcase strength in depth as Saqib Mahmood blows Pakistan away
Crawley, Malan cruise to fifties as second-string team romp home with 28.1 overs to spare

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Saqib Mahmood dismissed Babar Azam for a duck in his first over

England have enjoyed many impressive ODI performances in recent years: victories from the jaws of defeat; victories in locations where they used to be uncommon; victories in major global events. But, given the drama of the last few days and the challenges with which they were confronted, this win - by nine wickets with more than 28 overs to spare - may prove as satisfying as most of them.

Certainly it demonstrated England's remarkable strength in depth - in ODI cricket, at least - and a resilience which bodes well for the challenges ahead.

Despite being forced to make 11 changes to the side that played against Sri Lanka only four days ago, England's second string proved more than a match for a Pakistan team which had lost only one of their 12 most recent ODIs and is currently ranked No. 3 in the World Cup Super League. To defeat such an accomplished side by such a margin (in terms of deliveries to spare, 169, England had never inflicted such a large defeat upon Pakistan) in such circumstances can only be viewed as deeply impressive.

It has been 36 years since England put out a side with so few caps (135, since you asked; Ben Stokes accounting for 99 of them and James Vince 17 more). But after the extent of the Covid outbreak in the England camp became clear on Monday, the ECB was obliged to name an entirely new squad of players and support staff to ensure this series could go ahead. They had just one training session together before heading into this game.

Ultimately, there were five new caps in the England side, the most since the ODI against Ireland in May 2015 that ended Peter Moores' tenure as coach. Top-order batters Zak Crawley and Phil Salt, wicketkeeper John Simpson, seam-bowling allrounder Lewis Gregory and fast bowler Brydon Carse all made their debuts; while Crawley and Gregory have played Test cricket and T20Is respectively, the other three had no experience of international cricket.

But it was Saqib Mahmood, who in playing his fifth ODI was the third most experienced member of the side, who made the early inroads. Bowling at a brisk pace (above 87mph/140kph at times), he hit an excellent probing length and generated just enough movement to beat or catch edges.

Imam-ul-Haq played across the first ball of the series - Simpson, England's new keeper, and Stokes, their new captain, vindicated in calling for a review - with Babar Azam following two balls later. By the time Mahmood went round the wicket and trapped left-handed debutant Saud Shakeel with one that nipped in, Pakistan were 26 for 4. It was a passage of play which effectively defined the game. Mahmood was later, quite rightly, named as the player of the match.

Amid England's chaos, it might be overlooked that Pakistan hadn't enjoyed perfect preparation, either. They had been limited to intra-squad warm-up matches and were, perhaps, unfortunate enough to find themselves batting first on a surface offering just a fraction of seam movement.

So, while the scorecard may look ugly, you might spare a thought for Azam, who received an excellent ball which was angled in and forced a stroke only to then leave him a fraction to take the edge. Mohammad Rizwan, who also received a beauty which was angled in and left him, could also be forgiven for wondering he could have done about the delivery which dismissed him.

For a while, when Fakhar Zaman and Sohaib Maqsood were together, it looked as if Pakistan may be able to rebuild. Zaman, putting away anything overpitched or short with panache, looked in glorious touch with Maqsood producing one ferocious cut for six off the distinctly sharp Carse. Together they put on 53 for the fifth wicket.

But when Maqsood was run out, attempting to regain his ground having been sent back by Zaman, Pakistan's hopes of setting a challenging total disappeared with him. Zaman, slicing a drag-down from Matt Parkinson to backward point, soon followed. Mahmood returned to have Faheem Ashraf, cramped for room, fencing outside off stump and finished with 4 for 42 from his 10 overs. Those figures, impressive though they are, didn't flatter him at all.

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Zak Crawley and Dawid Malan steered England home

Underlining England's strength in depth, it was England's fifth four-wicket haul (or better) in their four most recent ODIs following Chris Woakes (4 for 18 in the first ODI against Sri Lanka), Sam Curran and David Willey (5 for 48 and 4 for 64 in the second) and Tom Curran (4 for 35 in the third). It is only the second time they have taken four-wicket hauls (or better) in four consecutive ODIs. It was also the first time England had bowled out a side for under 150 in an ODI since they dismissed Ireland for 126 in May 2017.

Not for a moment did Pakistan threaten to defend their paltry total. While Shaheen Shah Afridi produced a threatening opening spell, persuading Salt to edge to slip, Dawid Malan and Zak Crawley put on an unbroken stand of 120 for the second-wicket to seal a crushing victory.

Malan, in particular, looked in sublime form. He produced a series of sweetly-timed drives and, while his half-century (50 balls, with seven fours) came up with an under-edged reverse-sweep, it was a rare mis-step in an impressively assured performance. He is going to prove tough to leave out of any England side.

Crawley was barely less impressive. While he was, on 1, defeated by a perfect Hasan Ali yorker, it came from a free-hit. His half-century, brought up with a gorgeous back-foot force through point, took only 44 balls and demonstrated once again that his is a talent to be nurtured.

It wasn't a perfect display from England - not quite, anyway. Ali, on 1, was badly missed by Malan at deep midwicket, while a much tougher chance (an under-edge off a slog-sweep) offered by Shadab Khan, on 6, was missed by Simpson behind the stumps. Parkinson was the unfortunate bowler on both occasions with Shadab going on to make 30; one of only two men to reach 20 in the innings. Parkinson, at mid-on, also made a bit of a mess of a chance offered by Afridi on 10.

But these are minor quibbles. After a chaotic few days, Ben's Babes produced a performance which may have unnerved some of that first-choice ODI side as much as it did Pakistan.

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2nd ODI

Lewis Gregory digs deep with bat and ball as second-string England seal first-class series win
England overcome Hasan Ali five-for to win by 52 runs to take series with game to spare

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Lewis Gregory enjoyed a fine allround match with 40 runs and three wickets

England have wrapped up the Royal London ODI series against Pakistan with a game to spare following a 52-run victory over Pakistan at Lord's.

Despite being without their first-choice squad, despite being put into bat in conditions which Ben Stokes described as "lovely to bowl in" and despite subsiding to 160 for 7 with 20 overs of their innings remaining, England won this game with something to spare. Having won the first match ODI in Cardiff by nine wickets, it means they go into the final game at Edgbaston on Tuesday with an unassailable 2-0 lead.

It bears repetition that this is a highly proficient Pakistan side. Going into this series they had lost just one of their most recent 12 completed ODIs and, had they won this game convincingly, they could have risen to second place in the World Cup Super League. To beat them at any time is an achievement; to beat them without the use of at least 20 of your best players is another demonstration of England's current depth in limited-overs resources.

The defining passage of play probably came late in England's innings. When Lewis Gregory and Brydon Carse came together, England had just lost three wickets for four runs and were precariously placed at 160 for 7. At that stage, a total of 200 looked unlikely.

But the pair added 69 in 77 balls - a record eighth-wicket partnership at Lord's in ODI cricket - to drag England to what proved to be a competitive total on a Lord's surface offering assistance to both seam and spin bowlers. While any highlights package might focus on Gregory's boundaries - one of them, driven through the covers on the up off Hasan Ali would have pleased any batter - the pair also ran impressively, putting pressure on the Pakistan fielders.

While England were still bowled out with 10 deliveries unused - rain which delayed the start of the match by 90 minutes also reduced this to a 47-overs a side affair - their final total (247) was slightly better than that set in the first innings of the most recent ODI played on this ground: the 2019 World Cup final when New Zealand managed 241 for 8. And, as we know, that proved highly competitive.

Modest though England's total may look, it should probably have been far fewer. With both Dawid Malan, drawn into flashing at one angled across him, and Zak Crawley, late on a yorker, falling for ducks, England were 21 for 2 at the start of their innings with Hasan and Shaheen Shah Afridi threatening. But Pakistan's support bowlers were unable to sustain the pressure, squandering the help in the surface by bowling too wide and too short.

At one stage, with Faheem Ashraf conceding four boundaries in an over - and three in succession - to Phil Salt, England plundered seven fours in 11 deliveries. In partnership with James Vince, Salt added 97 for England's third wicket helping them bring up the 100 in just 13.1 overs. It was the fastest any side had reached 100 in an ODI at Lord's since India did so in 13.1 overs in 2002. On a pitch on which run-scoring proved difficult, the 99 runs conceded from the 15 overs from Faheem and Haris Rauf was a key difference between the sides.

For while England's opening bowlers also made inroads - Saqib Mahmood again proving dangerous and defeating Babar Azam with one that seamed in and Mohammad Rizwan with one that seamed away - they won far better support from their colleagues. Craig Overton earned the wicket of Fakhar Zaman by allowing him to scored two from the 14 balls he bowled at him and finally nipping one back through the gate, while Carse bowled with impressive pace.

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Hasan Ali took a five-wicket haul

England's batters also deserve credit, though. For while there was a time when, confronted with such conditions, a batting side might be expected to react with caution, those days have gone. Certainly when England are batting. Instead Salt threw his hands at almost everything he received. And if there was some rust amid the diamonds - a dropped chance here; an inside edge that whistled past the stumps there - the aggression of the approach appeared to wrong-foot Pakistan's support bowlers, in particular.

Perhaps the highest-class batting of the day came from Vince. While he, too, was aggressive, he looked just a little more controlled when coming down the wicket to drive the seamers through the covers or latching on to the resultant short ball with powerful pull strokes. Salt's maiden ODI fifty took 41 balls; Vince's second in ODIs took just 36 balls.

While Stokes, presented with a cap to commemorate his 100th ODI cap by Ashley Giles ahead of the game, flourished briefly, his attempt to dance down the wicket and thrash Hasan into the stand resulted in a lost off stump. With Hasan then angling one past the defence of John Simpson and Overton edging an intermediate prod, the bowler had taken three wickets in nine legitimate balls without conceding a run off the bat. His final figures - 5 for 51 - were the best by a Pakistan bowler in an ODI at Lord's. For a man playing just his third ODI since the World Cup due to injury, it also represented a terrific comeback.

At that stage, it looked as if Pakistan would keep England below 200. But Gregory and Carse gave their side some hope. And when Gregory followed up with the early wicket of Imam-ul-Haq at the start of the reply, the value of their partnership was put in perspective.

There were encouraging moments for Pakistan. Saud Shakeel, in just his second ODI, looked composed and capable in making a maiden half-century while Hasan took 22 from four balls (a four and then three successive sixes) from Matt Parkinson.

But by the time Simpson, anticipating Faheem's sweep and slipping down the leg-side, held on to a superb catch off the face of the bat, it was clear it was to be England's day. Some of these England players may not appear in a lot more international cricket - there's no way the likes of Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow and Chris Woakes get left out of a first-choice side - they will have warm memories of the day they won England a series in front of a full house at Lord's.

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3rd ODI

James Vince trumps Babar Azam's 158 as England seal stunning 332 chase
Maiden international hundred sets up record run-chase and England 3-0 clean sweep

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James Vince drives through the covers during his maiden England hundred

James Vince's maiden international century led England to a stunning victory and a 3-0 series sweep in their final ODI against Pakistan at Edgbaston.

Vince's 102 off 95 balls came in a 129-run stand for the sixth wicket with the impressive Lewis Gregory, who scored 77 in just his third one-day international as the hosts pulled off the highest successful ODI run-chase at Edgbaston.

It came after Babar Azam's career-best 158 lifted Pakistan to 331 for 9. Azam shared a third-wicket partnership worth 179 with Mohammad Rizwan, whose 74 off 58 balls was pivotal in pushing Pakistan's total into territory which had previously evaded them on this tour. Imam-ul-Haq also contributed a valuable 56 and put on 92 runs for the second wicket with Azam.

Brydon Carse, like Gregory, playing his third ODI after being called into England's new-look side following a spate of positive Covid tests in the original squad, claimed five wickets, including that of Azam late in the innings.

Carse was there at the end too, striking the winning runs - a four off Shaheen Shah Afridi - as he and Craig Overton held the England innings together after the loss of Vince and Gregory.

On the eve of England's second anniversary as World Cup champions, it was a very different side which produced this fairy tale ending.

After disappointing returns from the three matches he played in England's World Cup campaign, Vince's innings saved his side after Phil Salt, Zak Crawley and Ben Stokes made starts but failed to press on.

Exquisite on the drive square of the wicket, his advance to Hasan Ali before crunching him through the covers summed up Vince's poise. He duly reached his hundred via a blistering four off Ali through the leg side, brandishing his bat and letting out an almighty roar as he watched the ball race to the boundary.

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Babar Azam swings into a pull during his masterful innings of 158

Gregory, who starred with bat and ball in the previous match at Lord's, backed up his innings of 40 there with another accomplished knock of 77 from 69 balls, including six fours and three sixes.

England needed only 62 from the last 10 overs and, so long as he and Vince remained at the crease, they looked in prime position. But when Haris Rauf accounted for both - Vince holing out to mid-off and Gregory skying to silly point, where Shadab Khan took an excellent catch running from the covers - the requirement was 38 off 43.

Rauf claimed career-best figures of 4 for 65 but Pakistan were left to rue a rash of costly fielding errors long before Overton and Carse arrived to see England home.

England's pursuit began brightly, thanks to Salt, who clubbed Afridi for four boundaries in five balls during the opening over of England's innings.

Ali had Dawid Malan caught behind by Rizwan for a duck with his second legitimate delivery, having sent down three wides to begin, and while replays raised doubt over whether Malan had laid bat on ball, the batter had already walked.

Salt continued in enterprising fashion to reach 37 off just 22 balls, but when Pakistan introduced Rauf in the seventh over, Salt fell to his first ball, clipping off the pads to Fakhar Zaman at midwicket.

Rauf then flattened Crawley's off stump to bring Stokes to the middle, but England's stand-in skipper couldn't stick around for long, despite being handed two extra lives on a platter.

Pakistan had been sloppy in the field but when Stokes hit Khan straight to Ali at fine leg, the ball inexplicably slid straight through the fielder's hands. Khan was the bowler again when Stokes picked out long-on where Shoaib Maqsood got a hand to the ball stretching to his right but failed to cling on as it dribbled away for four.

Having seen his long hop mowed over the fence at cow corner, Shadab finally removed Stokes, who attempted a slog-sweep but succeeded only in sending a narrow edge to Rizwan, who ended up having to be replaced by Sarfaraz Ahmed after being struck on the inside of his knee by a ball thrown in from the outfield.

Earlier, Pakistan had made an understandably watchful start, given their collapses in Cardiff and Lord's where they were all out for 141 and 195 respectively.

They lost Zaman for just 6, his attempted punch through the off side off Saqib Mahmood stymied by the awkward bounce and finding Crawley at slip. The team fifty took 13.4 overs and after 17 they were 59 for 1.

Coming with scores of 0 and 19 from the first two matches, Azam took 15 balls to get off the mark amid consecutive maidens from Player of the Series Mahmood. He crept to 15 off 38 but then he started to find the boundary more regularly.

Imam also entered the match in need of runs and, after 11 overs, 24 of his 26 runs had come through boundaries. He passed 2000 ODI runs in the course of his innings.

Azam unfurled a beautiful extra cover drive off Carse to bring up their fifty partnership and he punished Gregory's off-cutter over cow corner before smashing Matt Parkinson over long-off.

It was Parkinson who broke their union with a ripper that turned sharply from well outside off and clattered into middle stump.

With Pakistan 113 for 2, Rizwan arrived in typically attacking mood and he reached his half-century in 42 balls.

Azam, meanwhile, reached his 14th ODI century with a crisp cut to the boundary off Mahmood. He was dropped on 126 when he struck a Parkinson full toss with gusto to midwicket, where Carse was unable to hold what would have been a wonderful catch, and Azam went on to score 13 off the over.

Carse had Rizwan out edging an attempted pull to keeper John Simpson and then removed Maqsood and Ali cheaply. Mahmood took two wickets in as many balls when he bowled Faheem Ashraf and had Khan caught behind.

Azam finally fell top-edging Carse to Malan at cover with four balls left in the innings and Carse had Afridi caught by Vince two balls later to claim his fifth wicket.

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