Ben Stokes and players celebrate with the trophy after winning the match and the series against Pakistan on Tuesday. Reuters
Gulf Today Report
Pakistan skipper Babar Azam’s stunning knock of 158 was in vain as England’s second string side completed a record run (332) chase at Edgbaston to win by three wickets and clinch the three-match One-day International series 3-0.
Set a target of 332 for victory, James Vince smashed 11 boundaries en route to his maiden ODI century (102) which helped guide England home with two overs to spare as a sloppy Pakistan dropped catches and conceded runs through several misfields.
Most of England's first-choice ODI lineup had to isolate after a COVID-19 outbreak just over a week ago following the Sri Lanka series, giving 30-year-old Vince another chance in the international arena.
Vince said scoring a hundred for his country "was one of my dreams growing up.” It took until his 50th innings across all formats in international cricket to reach the century milestone. "I don’t know when the next will be or if there will be another one," he said, "but that was without doubt one of the best days I’ve had.”
Earlier, England captain Ben Stokes won the toss and opted to field first against Pakistan on Tuesday.
Despite having to select a complete new squad after its entire team had to isolate after coronavirus outbreak within the team following the Lanka series, the world champions followed up a nine-wicket win over Pakistan in the first match with a convincing 52-run victory at Lord's in the second ODI.
Craig Overton bowls during the third ODI match. Reuters
Captain Stokes declaring the unchanged squad said after the toss, I've been very impressed with the new team. It's been a bizarre week but everyone has stood up; from players, management and backroom staff.
Pakistan also resisted making any changes in the team, with captain Babar Azam hoping for a morale-boosting win ahead of a three-match T20 series.
England was 165-5 in the 24th over before Vince shared a stand of 129 with Lewis Gregory (77) to accelerate the chase. Vince chipped Haris Rauf (4-65) to mid-off in the 43rd.
Craig Overton (18 not out) and Brydon Carse (12 not out) finished things off. Pakistan's innings was built around Babar's partnership of 179 with Mohammed Rizwan, who scored 74 from 58 balls.
Babar reached three triple figures from 104 deliveries, getting there with two boundaries in three balls by pulling Carse (5-61) with authority and then middling a compact cut shot.
England broke up the partnership when Rizwan went after a leg-side bouncer from Carse but feathered a nick through to John Simpson.
Carse picked up two more late wickets as the visitors moved to 309-5.
Babar was on a career-best 150 when he survived a run out attempt in the 48th over, but Carse finally ended Babar’s entertaining stay, producing a rare mis-hit to Dawid Malan with four balls remaining in Pakistan's innings.
Carse and Saqid Mahmood (3-60) collected two wickets apiece in the last two overs as Pakistan slumped from 324-5 to 329-9 finished his 10 overs with two wickets in six deliveries.
Pakistan fans cheer their team during the third ODI match on Monday. AFP
Cricket fans had been encouraged to turn Edgbaston 'Blue for Bob' to raise funds for prostate cancer in memory of former England fast bowler Bob Willis, who died aged 70 from the disease in 2019.
Willis, who also captained England, spent much of his career at Edgbaston playing for county side Warwickshire and Stokes said: "It's a great day, remembering one of England and cricket's greats and raising awareness of prostate cancer."
Pakistan, set 248 to win in a match reduced by rain to 47 overs per side, were dismissed for 195. Lewis Gregory took 3-44 after making a valuable 40 in England’s 247.
The cricket fans must show proof of either full vaccination or a negative PCR test before entering the stadium. The England and Wales Cricket Board on Saturday announced a 16-member squad for the ODI series against Pakistan. The ODI series will begin on July 8 at Cardiff.
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“Full marks to India for their outstanding performance. They are one of the best teams in the world. They have already clinched the series with one match to go. Despite playing with a make-shift team in the absence of many of their star players, they have outclassed England completely,” said Bell.