Pakistan edge England to level T20I series

Vital strike
Wahab Riaz, second right, is congratulated by a teammate on dismissing Moeen Ali. Photo: AFP

Mohammad Hafeez scored a scintillating unbeaten 86 as Pakistan held their nerve to defeat England by five runs in the third and final Twenty20 International (T20I) Iat Old Trafford on Tuesday to tie the series 1-1.

Sent in to bat, Pakistan posted 190/4 in their 20 overs as Hafeez and debutant Haider Ali (54) put on 100 for the third wicket, before restricting England to 185/8 despite a superb 61 from Moeen Ali.

England will now prepare for a three-match T20I series against Australia that starts in Southampton on Friday.

Hafeez smashed six sixes in his 52-ball 86, his joint highest score in T20Is and the most by a Pakistan batsman against England in the shortest format.

The home bowlers again battled with their lengths and a number of full tosses were crashed to the boundary.

Haider became the first Pakistan player to score a T20I half-century on debut when he brought up his milestone from 28 deliveries and his century stand with Hafeez came off 10 overs.

On fire
Mohammad Hafeez was in his element. Photo: AFP

England were in early trouble in their reply when opener Jonny Bairstow was bowled by a Shaheen Afridi (2/28) yorker for a duck. In-form captain Eoin Morgan was run out for 10 as partner Tom Banton refused a run, and when the latter was leg before wicket to Haris Rauf for 46 from 31 deliveries, England were teetering at 69/4.

Moeen and Sam Billings (26) put on 57 for the fifth wicket, and the former kept his side in the game with some power hitting, leaving them needing 20 from the last two overs.

But a brilliant penultimate over from seamer Wahab Riaz (2/26) went for just three runs, including the wicket of Moeen, whose scored 61 off 33 balls.

The first match in the series was abandoned due to rain, while England won the second by five wickets.

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