Saturday, June 15, 2024

England v Pakistan T20 international: Jofra Archer takes two wickets as hosts win at Edgbaston

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There will have been times when many, including Archer himself, will have wondered if he would ever play for England again.

The more recent lay-off for an elbow problem kept him out for a year, the latest in a string of injuries. This was the 29-year-old’s first home international since 2020 and, because of the pandemic, first in front of a crowd in England since the 2019 Ashes.

Introduced in the sixth over, Archer looked every inch his old self, with pace in the high 80s and the crowd chanting his name. Still, Fakhar clipped to mid-wicket for four and scooped for six.

On a two-paced pitch, England’s threat came from spin. Moeen Ali opened the bowling and claimed 2-26 and Adil Rashid, playing for the first time since February, bowled beautifully for 1-25.

Archer was reintroduced in the 12th over and immediately had Azam miscue to Moeen. Archer’s next delivery was a 91.3mph yorker to Iftikhar.

While Fakhar remained, Pakistan had hope. He twice hit massive sixes into the pavilion, but after the second, off Liam Livingstone, the left-hander skied to Harry Brook at long-on.

Even then, Iftikhar and Imad targeted spin, but Archer was a different proposition. His third over, the 15th of the innings, went for only five singles.

After Iftikhar’s huge blow over square leg off Topley, the right-hander hit the ball miles high to Chris Jordan, who held on to his second catch at long-on, showing one of the reasons England have included him in their squad.

With the game as good as done, Archer was recalled for his final over and Imad guided a full toss straight to deep point. England, so poor at the 50-over World Cup in the autumn, suddenly have an attack looking all the more potent.

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