Curran wickets give England a shot at series success in Nottingham
Pakistan were 220 for one but failed to maintain that momentum.
England were left chasing 341 to seal a series win over Pakistan after Babar Azam’s century and Tom Curran’s four-wicket haul vied for the spotlight at Trent Bridge.
Babar laid a strong foundation with his diligent 115 but the tourists failed to fully deliver on a formidable position of 220 for one, closing on 340 for seven – the lowest completed innings of a high-scoring series.
Curran conceded a pricey 75 from his 10 overs but claimed the key wickets of Babar and Fakhar Zaman (57) before returning late on to see off Imad Wasim and Hasan Ali.
England opened up with the intimidating pace of Jofra Archer and Mark Wood, who instantly became contenders for the country’s quickest-ever new-ball pairing, and it was the latter who made an impact first.
Wood, bowling competitively for the first time in more than two months, wasted no time cranking it up past 90 miles per hour and soon sent Imam-ul-Haq back to the pavilion in pain. The opener wore a nasty-looking blow on his back elbow and immediately leapt in pain, flinging down his bat as he awaited treatment.
The left-hander was sent to hospital for X-rays, with no fracture discovered beneath the swelling, but was not seen again. In his absence Babar joined Fakhar to put on 107, kickstarting their stand with ebullient strokes in the powerplay including a pair of eye-popping sixes off Archer and Wood.
Imam injury update— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) May 17, 2019
Imam ul Haq taken to hospital for Xray. All xrays are clear. Swelling on his left arm only.#ENGvPAK
England quelled the rate with a tidy spell from all-rounder Joe Denly, possibly his best in ODIs, and Curran, but had to wait until the 20th over for their first wicket.
Curran was the bowler, drawing a thick edge from Fakhar (57) which was held low by Wood at third man. With Babar progressing solidly past his own half-century, Mohammad Hafeez chipped in a risky but effective cameo worth 59.
As well as interesting the outfielders with a couple of aerial shots he offered a clean stumping chance off Moeen Ali on 45, only for Jos Buttler to ground the ball.
A 30-over mark of 178 for one left Pakistan well placed to inflict more damage but although Babar earned himself a second ODI century England began to chip away.
Hafeez thudded Wood to mid-on and Babar’s stay ended when he thrashed Curran to the waiting Archer. A wonderful diving catch from Wood did for Asif Ali and got Archer among the wickets, while Curran routed Imad with a precise yorker.
Hasan was Curran’s fourth victim as Pakistan scrambled to a competitive score at the death.