England overwhelm Pakistan in final T20 before World Cup defence

England overwhelm Pakistan in final T20 before World Cup defence


England beat Pakistan by seven wickets in the last T20 at The Oval on Thursday

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LONDON (AFP) – Reigning champions England produced a fine all-round display with both bat and ball as they beat Pakistan by seven wickets at The Oval on Thursday in their last competitive match before they begin the defence of their Twenty20 World Cup title.

England, having restricted Pakistan in the field, made a rapid start chasing a modest target of 158 as Phil Salt (45) and skipper Jos Buttler (39) shared a blistering opening stand of 82 inside seven overs.

Harry Brook ended the game with a six off paceman Haris Rauf, the pick of the Pakistan attack with 3-38, as England finished on 158-6 to win with more than three overs to spare.

Victory gave England a 2-0 triumph in a four-match T20 series where games at Headingley and Cardiff were both washed out without a ball bowled.

Both England openers launched paceman Naseem Shah for huge sixes before Salt holed out off Rauf in the deep for a quickfire 45.

Pakistan wicketkeeper Azam Khan, who dropped Salt on 34, then shelled an even easier chance when Jacks, on eight, edged Rauf.

But three balls later the stocky gloveman clung on to end Buttler's 20-ball stay. Buttler was leading England after his wife gave birth to the couple's third child following his dashing 84 in the hosts' 23-run win in the second T20 at Edgbaston.

England, however, were still well-placed at 101-2 off just nine overs.

Earlier, Pakistan had been well-placed at 59-0 after losing the toss.

But they slumped to 86-5, the collapse starting when captain Babar Azam was caught at slip for a well-made 36 off fast bowler Jofra Archer.

Player-of-the-match Adil Rashid took 2-27 from his maximum four overs, with fellow spinner Liam Livingstone striking twice in an over as Pakistan were dismissed for 157.

Fast bowler Mark Wood also took two wickets with well-directed bouncers.

Pakistan's Usman Khan made a brisk 38 before he was superbly caught low down by renowned fielder Chris Jordan, running in from long-on.

England launch their T20 World Cup campaign against Scotland in Barbados on June 4, with Pakistan -- the 2009 champions -- in action two days later against co-hosts the United States in Dallas.