Another brilliant chase ensured England will head to the World Cup on the back of a series win over Pakistan, with Jason Roy and Ben Stokes staring down a testing total at Trent Bridge.
Roy gave the hosts the perfect start to their pursuit of 341, cracking 114 in 89 balls before four wickets tumbled quickly to put the result in the balance and left Stokes to shoulder the burden.
The all-rounder stood tall in a nervy finale, timing his run perfectly to finish with an unbeaten 71 and holding his nerve as Pakistan crumbled with a sequence of dismal fielding errors.
A three-wicket victory left England 3-0 up with one to play, still unbeaten this summer and with a high-pressure triumph under their belts.
Stokes flicked the winning run with three balls remaining but Pakistan will know they should have gone closer, overthrows, misfields and the failure to appeal for a run out against Tom Curran all undermining their efforts.
Curran had earlier taken four wickets to show his worth with ball in hand, while Babar Azam will feel unlucky to be on the losing side after a hard-fought 115.
With Jonny Bairstow rested, stand-in opener James Vince made a decent fist of his latest opportunity, making a pleasing 43 before bailing out of a big swing and playing on.
Roy, on the other hand, was destined for bigger things as soon as a mis-hit off Imad Wasim evaded the flapping Fakhar Zaman with his score on 25. The next ball disappeared for four and the pattern was set.
A top edge took him past 50 but there was no shortage of inspired hitting as Roy took just 32 balls to convert his century.
There were three notable sixes: an impudent ramp over fine leg that left Junaid Khan aghast, a meaty square pull and then a fleet-footed skip to leg that allowed just enough room to bludgeon into the crowd at cover. That stroke ensured his eighth England ton but the fun was soon over, feathering Hasnain softly down leg.
Pakistan seized their moment, making Roy’s the first of four wickets in 17 balls. Wasim took a prize pair, Joe Root off a clunky outside edge and Jos Buttler for an improbable duck, caught off the back of the bat attacking a full toss.
Moeen Ali found himself elevated to five but lasted just three balls.
Stokes and Joe Denly shaved 42 runs off the target before the latter fell to a one-handed return catch by Junaid Khan, whose fielding had verged on risible for most of the evening. That left exactly 10 overs remaining and 83 to get.
Curran made 31 of them after a life on six, short of his ground when a successful run out attempt failed to catch the attention of Sarfraz Ahmed or the umpires, but Stokes it was who owned the decisive moments.
The Pakistan innings was built around successive century stands led by Babar, 107 with Fakhar and 104 alongside Mohammad Hafeez.
That placed the tourists well at 220 for one and, although they were still able to add another 120 runs from the last 80 balls of the innings, the loss of six batsmen punctured their momentum.
Opening bowlers Jofra Archer and Mark Wood had earlier become instant contenders for the country’s quickest ever new-ball pairing, both men easing beyond the 90mph barrier.
Wood, bowling competitively for the first time in more than two months, wasted no time in making his mark on Imam-ul-Haq, who retired hurt after a nasty looking blow on the left elbow. The pain was palpable moments after impact, as the batsman leapt in discomfort and hit the turf.
That aside, it was attritional stuff for the home attack, with just two breakthroughs in 39 overs. Curran claimed the first, Fakhar well held by the sprawling Wood at third man for 57, and the Durham man returning to hurry up Mohammad Hafeez after a frantic but effective turn worth 59.
It was the lowest score of a high-scoring series but England’s consistent ability to go one better than their opponents is becoming an increasingly useful habit.
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England captain Eoin Morgan has been suspended for one ODI for maintaining a slow over-rate during the six-wicket win against Pakistan on Tuesday.
Morgan, who has also been fined 40 per cent of his match fee after England took nearly four hours to bowl 50 overs in Bristol, will miss the fourth game of the Pakistan series at Trent Bridge on Friday.
Every England player has also been fined 20 per cent of their match fees for maintaining the slow over-rate at Bristol.
Richie Richardson, of the ICC’s elite panel of match referees, imposed the suspension on Morgan after England were ruled to be two overs short after time allowances were taken into consideration.
An ICC statement read: “In accordance with Article 2.22.1 of the ICC code of conduct for players and player support personnel, which relates to minor over-rate offences, players are fined 10 per cent of their match fees for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time, with the captain fined double that amount.”
Morgan’s ban is the result of him having also been found guilty of a minor over-rate offence during England’s ODI against the West Indies at Bridgetown in February.
The Bristol offence constituted his second minor over-rate offence within a 12-month period, so a one-match suspension was imposed.
Just in: Eoin Morgan has been suspended for one ODI and fined 40 per cent of his match fee for maintaining a slow over-rate during the third ODI against Pakistan— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) May 15, 2019
England wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow has been reprimanded for breaching Level 1 of the ICC code of conduct.
Bairstow swiped the stumps with his bat after being bowled for 128 in the 29th over, as England successfully chased down a target of 359 to beat Pakistan.
The ICC said: “Bairstow was found to have breached Article 2.2 of the ICC code of conduct for players and player support personnel, which relates to “abuse of cricket equipment or clothing, ground equipment or fixtures and fittings during an international match.
“In addition to this, one demerit point has been added to the disciplinary record of Bairstow, for whom it was his first offence since the introduction of the revised code in September 2016.”
Jos Buttler could take over the captaincy from Morgan at Trent Bridge after being rested at Bristol.
The 28-year-old deputised when Morgan rested himself from a Twenty20 international against South Africa at Cardiff in 2017.
Another option is England’s Test captain Joe Root, who has been an ever-present in the series.
England lead Pakistan 2-0 in the five-match series, after the first game was abandoned, with matches at Nottingham and Leeds to come.
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Bairstow blasted his seventh one-day international ton – 128 from 93 balls – as England beat Pakistan by six wickets at Bristol to take a 2-0 series lead with two games to play.
The 29-year-old continues to impress after his recent spell for IPL side Sunrisers Hyderabad, where he scored 445 runs in 10 games at an average of 55.62.
“You’re able to learn different things from different coaches and different players,” said Bairstow, who opened the Sunrisers batting with Australian opener David Warner.
“It’s just little things like game plans. He (Warner) hits in completely different areas to potentially myself.
“I guess it’s method more than anything else.
“But learning from them, as well as the guys here, that can only be a good thing playing under pressure with expectation.”
Bairstow admitted he was furious with himself getting out with England closing in on an extraordinary victory, chasing down Pakistan’s 358 for nine.
The Yorkshireman angrily hit out at his stumps after he played on to Junaid Khan and some repair work was needed before the game could continue.
“I was cross because you want to see that through,” Bairstow said after England had achieved their second-highest successful ODI run chase.
“You want to be going on and getting 160 or 170, and potentially 200 and seeing your team through.
“That’s where we’re at as a group of players at the moment, having competition to go and get the 150s and 160s and beyond.
“We are backing ourselves and competition is healthy all the way through.
“That’s a good place to be and I was cross about it. But it shows how much I want to do well for this side.”
The only downside for England was that captain Eoin Morgan has risked a potential one-match ban for his side’s slow over rates.
England took nearly four hours to bowl their 50 overs, less than three months after they were fined for maintaining a slow over-rate against the West Indies in Barbados.
Morgan was fined 20 per cent of his match fee from that game, his players received 10 per cent fines.
England knew that by committing another minor over-rate breach in an ODI within 12 months with Morgan as captain, that it would be deemed a second offence by the 32-year-old.
Morgan could now face a suspension, although it would not be a World Cup game with that tournament starting later this month.
Imam-ul-Haq’s 151 was the highest ODI score by a Pakistan player against England and the opener felt his side had a winning total.
“The score was enough, 360 was a really good total,” Imam said.
“We just lost a couple of catches that cost us and our bowlers did not stick to the plan.
“We came here in the Champions Trophy (in 2017) so we know what these wickets are like.
“We know England are going to come hard at us, and we have to bowl better and play better cricket to win.”
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