|Third Twenty20 international, Karachi|
|England 221-3 (20 overs): Brook 81(35), Duckett 70(42)|
|Pakistan 158-8 (20 overs): Masood 65(40); Wood 3-24|
|England won by 63 runs; lead series 2-1|
Harry Brook smashed an unbeaten 81 from just 35 balls to help England go 2-1 up in the Twenty20 series against Pakistan with a comfortable 63-run win in Karachi.
The Yorkshire batter showed a dazzling array of shots as England posted an imposing 221-3 from their 20 overs – their joint-fifth highest score in T20 cricket.
He was ably supported by Ben Duckett, who added 70 from 42 deliveries in an unbroken fourth-wicket stand worth 139 from 69 balls, while debutant opener Will Jacks hit 40 from 22 balls to get England off to a strong start.
Pakistan struggled early in their reply and were reduced 28-4 during the powerplay, thanks to a blistering opening spell from the returning Mark Wood.
The Durham fast bowler, playing his first international since March after two rounds of elbow surgery, took 3-24, including skipper Babar Azam, whose unbeaten 110 inspired Pakistan to a remarkable 10-wicket victory in the second T20 on Thursday.
Adil Rashid took 2-32 and Reece Topley ended with 1-22 in his first match of this series as Pakistan could only limp to 158-8, despite a spirited unbeaten half-century from Shan Masood.
The fourth T20 in the seven-match series takes place on Sunday, again in Karachi.
Brook and Duckett stake claims
It has been a breakthrough year for Brook, who made his T20 international debut against West Indies in January before earning his first Test cap against South Africa earlier this month.
And with a T20 World Cup rapidly approaching the 23-year-old gave a timely demonstration of his class to press his claims for a spot in the starting side.
Coming in at five, his innings contained eight fours and five huge sixes – two of which came from as many balls off Usman Qadir.
The left-hand, right-hand partnership with Duckett appeared to bamboozle Babar, who struggled to set a field to stem the scoring.
Duckett was far stronger square of the wicket, relying almost exclusively on the sweep or reverse-sweep to score, but still expertly picking out the gaps in the field with eight fours and one six.
Surrey opener Jacks has been touted as an international cricketer for some time and his steady innings on his England debut ensured the run-rate barely dropped below 10 an over despite the early dismissals of Phil Salt and Dawid Malan.
Wood’s impressive return also gives England cause for optimism, being clocked at 97mph despite his six-month injury absence as the short ball repeatedly caused the Pakistan batters problems.
With the likes of Chris Jordan, Ben Stokes, Liam Livingstone and permanent captain Jos Buttler still to return to the side, England suddenly have a flurry of selection problems with the World Cup less than a month away.
Poor start curbs Pakistan hopes
Babar and Mohammad Rizwan were inspired in the second T20 when they spearheaded Pakistan to a record-breaking 10-wicket win, but they mustered just 16 between them here as a poor powerplay effectively ended the hosts’ chances.
Babar had already survived a leading edge that Malan could not grasp when on three, but the next over he top-edged a bouncer from Wood straight to Topley on the deep third boundary.
Rizwan then saw his leg stump demolished by a fizzing Topley delivery, before Haider Ali pulled another vicious short delivery from Wood straight to a diving Adil Rashid at square leg.
The short ball proved effective for Sam Curran too as he lured Iftikhar Ahmed into playing a looping shot straight to Topley at mid-off to silence a previously vociferous home crowd.
Masood put up some resistance with an unbeaten 65 from 40 balls to strengthen his case for a permanent place in the Pakistan middle order, but only Khushdil Shah and Mohammad Nawaz also reached double figures.
A flurry of late wickets ensured a timid end to the game compared with the fireworks witnessed 24 hours previously.
‘We were ruthless’ – reaction
Player of the match, England batter Harry Brook: “It was very nice to get out there and have a match-winning performance.
“I was just trying to get Ben Duckett on strike against the spin – he’s so good at sweeping it’s ridiculous. He seems to hit the gap every time. It worked quite well.”
England captain Moeen Ali: “That was a brilliant win. We were ruthless, with the bat in particular.
“The future is amazing for England cricket with the players we’ve got coming through.
“Mark Wood bowled serious, serious pace. It’s great to have him back, he’s a massive part of our team. In the World Cup we need him firing like that.”
Pakistan captain Babar Azam: “We tried to get a good start again but the early wickets put pressure on us.
“In situations like this we try and use the best bowlers but we were just not up to the mark and England bowled really well.”
England bowler Mark Wood, speaking to Sky Sports: “It has been a long time. I felt pretty tired at the end with the intensity of international cricket but I will be good to go again.
“The challenge now is to back it up. What’s important is to not go too hard now and mean I’m not ready for the World Cup. I have to peak at the right time.”
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