England sealed a 3-1 series win over Pakistan in their fourth One Day International (ODI). Jos Buttler earned the Man of the Series award after he enjoyed a destructive return to form, scoring England’s fastest ever century. Having lost the first game, England’s new- look limited-overs side were under pressure, but they bounced back in style winning the next three with ease.
The first ODI was dominated from the start by Pakistan. After losing early wickets, only Eoin Morgan and James Taylor offered substantial resistance for England with the pair both making half-centuries, dragging England up to a below-par 216. Despite Reece Topley taking three early scalps, Pakistan knocked the target off with six wickets and more than six overs remaining. Mohammad Hafeez, coming into the series on the back of a match-winning 151 in the final test, scored an unbeaten century to see Pakistan comfortably home.
In spite of the heavy defeat, England went into the second ODI unchanged, with the selectors realising that having such a young side meant the occasional poor game was inevitable. One of England’s new ODI stars, Alex Hales, stepped up to the plate in this match as he scored his maiden ODI century with the top-order all contributing towards England’s 283. Chris Woakes, who had gone six matches without a wicket before the second ODI, took four wickets and assisted by David Willey’s three, ensured Pakistan barely got within 100 runs of the target. A heavy win for England levelled the series.
Chris Woakes carried his form from Dubai, the location of the first two ODIs, to Sharjah. He took a further four wickets, successfully utilising the short ball as Pakistan were bowled out for just 208, with three farcical run-outs encapsulating their innings.
The England dressing room was nervous after early wickets reduced them to 27/2, but a resolute partnership between James Taylor (67 not out) and Jos Buttler (49 not out) saw England home with nine overs to spare. Buttler’s innings hinted at a return to form, but it was just a fraction of what he would produce in the next match.
Having won the toss and elected to bat, England played well from the off. Jason Roy scored his maiden international hundred and Joe Root made a composed 71 but the match will be remembered for the innings by Jos Buttler. Coming in to bat in the 36th over, Buttler scored just 17 off his first 19 balls. He then exploded into life hitting fours and sixes to all parts of the ground, reaching his century from 46 balls and smashing his own record for England’s fastest hundred. He now has England’s three fastest ODI centuries and he described his latest innings as the “best [he’s] ever played in an England shirt”.
While Pakistan made a decent effort in their chase of England’s 355, they lost steady wickets and eventually fell 84 runs short. England bagged the series, and will not be short of confidence as they approach the no doubt scintilating Twenty20 fixtures.