Saturday, June 15, 2024

Jofra Archer takes wickets on England return as hosts beat Pakistan in second T20 international at Edgbaston

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Jofra Archer marked his first England appearance in over a year with two wickets and a batting cameo as his side beat Pakistan by 23 runs in the second T20 international at Edgbaston.

The fast bowler (12no off 4) first clubbed a four and six from the No 9 spot in the final over as England posted 183-7, before recording figures of 2-28 from a quick and skilful four overs after his first was crunched for 15 as Pakistan were rolled for 160 in reply.

Archer had last played for England in Bangladesh in March 2023 – he missed the whole of the following summer due to an elbow issue – with his expected comeback in the first T20 at Headingley on Wednesday wrecked by the rain.

Jofra Archer recorded figures of 2-28 as England beat Pakistan by 23 runs

He returned in Birmingham on Saturday afternoon, though, for his first England fixture at home since 2020, with his comeback, during which he reached speeds of 90mph, a real fillip ahead of next month’s T20 World Cup.

Archer had Azam Khan (11) caught at cover at the start of his second over, before Imad Wasim (22 off 13) clothed a yorker to a fielder in the same spot in his fourth as Pakistan’s chase petered out.

Captain Jos Buttler’s 84 off 51 deliveries was another high point for England, who will now look to wrap up a series win in Cardiff on Tuesday before the final game at The Kia Oval on Thursday.

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Jos Buttler played some brilliant cricket, with plenty of sixes, until he was caught out for 84 against Pakistan.

Buttler plays blistering innings before middle-order wobble

Archer had a watching brief to start with on Saturday after England were inserted by Pakistan and saw his side reach 144-2 inside 15 overs thanks principally to Buttler’s 23rd T20 international fifty but also a 23-ball 37 from Will Jacks.

However, the hosts then lost five wickets for 25 runs as a clutch of batters scuffed to the fielders on the fence, meaning Archer’s late boundaries were a welcome addition to the total.

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Jofra Archer marks his return with a four and a six during his first over back in the England squad following injury.

England’s batting largely fired early on with Jacks and Buttler sharing a stand of 71 from 42 balls for the third wicket after the early exit of Phil Salt (13 off 9).

Jacks’ two sixes, both nailed down the ground, left the Sky Sports commentators purring, while Buttler struck a remarkable maximum over extra-cover with a reverse sweep off the expensive Shadab Khan (0-55).

Jonny Bairstow (21 off 18) chipped in, too, but his dismissal – caught at deep backward square of Shaheen Shah Afridi (3-36) – triggered the middle-order malaise, with Harry Brook (1) bowled trying to cut a straight ball from economical left-arm spinner Imad (2-19), and Moeen Ali (4), Buttler and Chris Jordan (3) falling to seamers.

Archer, though, carved Mohammad Amir for four over deep third from the first ball he faced and then sent the left-arm quick for six over long-on to end England’s innings with a flourish.

Archer rebounds from expensive first over

Archer was then on the receiving end of some big hitting as he stepped up to bowl the sixth over of the Pakistan innings, creamed back over his head by Babar Azam (32 off 26), before Fakhar Zaman (45 off 21) whipped him for four and six into the leg-side.

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Fakhar Zaman hits an incredible shot that gets stuck way up in the camera gantry!

The England paceman had a beaming smile across his face one ball into his second over, the 12th of the innings, as his dismissal of Azam left Pakistan 91-5, which became 100-6 in the 13th when Liam Livingstone had Fakhar pouched at long-on.

Babar and Fakar plundered 53 from 28 balls in partnership for the third wicket after the early dismissals of Mohammad Rizwan (0) and Saim Ayub (2) to Moeen and Reece Topley respectively, with Fakhar clubbing the first three legal balls he faced, bowled by Topley, to the boundary.

Once Moeen broke that stand by pinning Babar lbw on the sweep, Pakistan lost wickets at regular intervals, until an alliance of 40 from 21 balls between Imad and Iftikhar (23 off 17) caused England some jitters.

Iftikhar fell at the end of the 16th over – Jordan taking a splendid swirling catch after the batter had ballooned a Topley delivery into the sky – and a requirement of 44 from the final four overs proved too tough an ask for the away side.

Archer capped his day with the wicket of Imad, snuffing out Pakistan’s hopes of victory and showing just what England have been missing, not just over the last 12 months but over frequent injury lay-offs for the the Barbados-born seamer since he burst onto the international scene in 2019

What’s next?

Tuesday 28th May 6:00pm

Thursday 30th May 6:00pm

England and Pakistan meet in two further T20 internationals before the T20 World Cup – in Cardiff on Tuesday and at The Kia Oval on Thursday, with both matches starting at 6.30pm.

England’s T20 World Cup opener is against Scotland in Barbados on Tuesday June 4 (3.30pm start), while Pakistan get under way against co-hosts USA in Dallas on Thursday July 6 (4.30pm).

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