James Vince’s English first century helps land shutout streak on Pakistan

James Vince marked a magnificent first century for England as he and Lewis Gregory inspired their improvised side to a series of washes over Pakistan at Edgbaston.

England’s emergency appeals team had previously won the Royal London Trophy with back-to-back walkovers, but found it to be a victory of a different magnitude – a record-breaking ground chase and one that has been marked by adversity.

Chasing 332 past Babar Azam’s stunning 158, Vince sailed a rocky 165 route for five years and banished six years of broken promises at the highest level to make a brilliant 102.

Gregory also proved his talent and heart with a hard-hitting 77 and when both men tripped over the line tails Craig Overton and Brydon Carse brought them home.

When Carse, who had already picked up five for 61 with the ball, stroked the winning runs through extra cover, that was enough for a three-wicket win, a clean 3-0 sweep and all with 12 balls to spare. .

It was a performance that even the late Bob Willis – for whom the ground had turned blue in a fundraising effort to help fight prostate cancer – couldn’t find fault, even at his most. comical.

Pakistan started their heats unusually calm, reaching a provisional 111 for a halfway point. Babar and Imam-ul-Haq were passing at a majestic pace and perhaps would have continued to do so if Matt Parkinson hadn’t dismissed the latter with a classic. Pulling the left-hander with drift, he tore his leg hard enough to rip him through the door and into the stumps.

Enter Mohammad Rizwan, whose positivity inspired Babar to rush into gears as the pair stacked 179 in 20 overs in an exemplary batting day. After taking 72 balls to score 50, Babar only needed 32 more balls to convert his ton and never looked back. He used his feet to hit Parkinson’s from his length, pulled hard and flat, and raised his 14th cent with a beautifully measured cut.

Things eventually ended in a dizzying crescendo with 148 runs and seven wickets in the last 15 overs. Carse took five as cashed in the midst of the chaos. Rizwan (74), Sohaib Maqsood and Hasan Ali were all knocked out, Babar’s masterclass finally ended when he found himself tiptoeing and Shaheen Shah Afridi’s chip finished his run. Saqib Mahmood also took advantage by hitting with his last two balls.

England’s response began in a similar frenzy, with Dawid Malan marching for an advantage that reruns said had not happened and Phil Salt kicked off with four meaty limits from the opening d ‘Afridi. He rode this uncontrolled assault until 37 years old before it cost him his wicket.

The rate remained very high as Vince and Zak Crawley produced a marvelous play of punches, dotting the ropes with sheer timing as the score topped triple digits in just 13 overs. But there was another mistake around the corner, Crawley playing around for a forehand for 39 as Haris Rauf kept the bowlers in the fight.

Shadab Khan was dismayed to see Ben Stokes fall on seven and 18, but he proved lucky for the spinner for the third time when an underboard was kept safely at the stumps for 32. When John Simpson lbw followed, the scoreboard turned England into a big underdog.

If Imam hadn’t let Gregory down on the 10th, they would have stayed that way. Instead, he and Vince were allowed to form a dashing union, eagerly running and always relieving the pressure with a timely boundary.

Although Vince was ahead 48 points, they shared the load evenly and it was Gregory whose six hooks took the required double-digit points for the first time. That had fallen to 62 over the last 10 overs, with Vince getting closer to his long-awaited tone, full of signature cuts and pull-ups.

He showed no doubt, pivoting to turn his 11th limit into a slender leg before swinging his bat in joy. Maybe the release of emotion knocked him over because four balls later he went straight to the midpoint with 38 still needed.

This shouldn’t have been a problem for Gregory, who had just dropped two huge sixes in the stands, but a flight later he was also on his way.

The row between the fields following the capture hinted that Pakistan didn’t have the coolest head and it was instead Overton and Carse who calmly scored the remaining 29 races. That they did so with time to spare and no further drama was just further proof of England’s remarkable limited depth.

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