Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler shine as England beat Pakistan to take lead in T20I series | Crickit
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Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler shine as England beat Pakistan to take lead in T20I series

AP |
May 26, 2024 09:31 AM IST

This was Jofra Archer's first appearance on the international stage in 14 months

Pace bowler Jofra Archer claimed two wickets on his long-awaited return to international cricket to help England beat Pakistan by 23 runs in a Twenty20 at Edgbaston on Saturday.

England's Jofra Archer reacts to being hit for four during the second T20 international cricket match between England and Pakistan at Edgbaston(AFP)
England's Jofra Archer reacts to being hit for four during the second T20 international cricket match between England and Pakistan at Edgbaston(AFP)

This was Archer's first appearance on the international stage in 14 months, but he had not played for his country on English soil since 2020 after an injury-hit few years.

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He bounced back from an expensive first over which went for 15 runs to finish with 2-28 and help England dismiss Pakistan for 160 in pursuit of 184.

England's 183-7 was largely down to a blistering half-century from captain Jos Buttler, who struck three sixes on his way to 84 before a collapse of five wickets for 25 runs left the door open for Pakistan.

Fakhar Zaman ensured Pakistan made a strong start to their chase with 45 off 21 balls, but Reece Topley picked up three wickets and Moeen Ali and Archer claimed two each.

They helped England begin its T20 World Cup preparations with a victory after Wednesday's washout in Leeds.

Buttler resisted the temptation to open the bowling with Archer and went with Ali, which paid off when Mohammad Rizwan picked out Liam Livingstone at midwicket to depart for a duck.

England was well on top when Topley claimed Saim Ayub from his second over, but it brought Fakhar to the crease.

While Fakhar edged his first delivery over Ali in the slips, it sparked a run of fours from each of his first five deliveries.

Archer was given the ball and Fakhar reminded him how brutal international cricket can be.

After Babar Azam hit Archer's second delivery back over his head for four, Fakhar finished the over with a ramp shot for six as Pakistan ended the powerplay on 55-2.

With the match in the balance, Buttler turned to Ali and Adil Rashid, who silenced a partisan Pakistan-dominated crowd.

Ali claimed the decisive wicket of Babar for 32 when he pinned him in front lbw and Rashid backed it up with the dismissal of Shadab Khan.

Pakistan reached the midway point on 80-4 before Archer got in on the act. His first delivery of his second spell was pitched up, clocked 90 mph and accounted for wicketkeeper Azam Khan, who spliced to Ali at cover.

England's stranglehold increased when Fakhar's scintillating innings concluded after he skied Livingstone to the onrushing Harry Brook at mid-on.

Archer return for another one-over spell, which brought about the wicket of Imad Wasim.

Topley finished the job when Shaheen Afridi slog-swept to Phil Salt to give Topley figures of 3-41.

Pakistan captain Babar earlier made Archer wait for his chance with the ball when he put England in to bat, but Buttler signalled his intent with two scorching fours down the ground off Shaheen's second over.

The early introduction of left-arm spinner Imad accounted for Salt cheaply, but Will Jacks joined forces with Buttler and took 15 runs off Haris Rauf, which included a sumptuous drive for the first six of the day.

Jacks impressed and put on 71 with Buttler before Rauf ended his fine knock on 37 to deny him a maiden T20 fifty.

Buttler had already targeted leg-spinner Shadab by this point, and after he reached his half-century with a wonderful ramp shot off Rauf, the England captain accelerated.

A reverse sweep for another maximum proved the catalyst for Shadab's final over to go for 20 runs, but the host's momentum was checked when Jonny Bairstow's dismissal on 144-2 sparked a collapse.

England lost its next five wickets for 25 runs and that allowed Archer to produce an unexpected cameo of 12 not out to set 184 to win, which proved too many for Pakistan.

England leads the four-match series 1-0. The third match is on Tuesday in Cardiff.

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