Fakhar's brilliance in vain as England ride on Buttler's ton to win high-scoring second ODI vs Pakistan

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A sensational 50-ball ton from Jos Buttler.

Pakistan nearly pulled off the second highest chase in one-day history but hosts England held their nerves in the end to hold on for a narrow 12-run win in the second ODI at Southampton.

Powered by a superb ton by Jos Buttler, England posted a mammoth 373-3 in their 50 overs after they were made to bat first by Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed.

The Men in Green responded in kind with a brilliant century from opener Fakhar Zaman but their highest score while batting second in ODIs fell just short on 361-7 as England took a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.

At the end of a high-scoring encounter at the Ageas bowl, we look at the key talking points.

ENGLAND OPENERS MAKE HEY

With the lengthy batting unit that England possess, any substantial partnership by the openers can spell doom for the opposition and that is exactly what happened at the Ageas Bowl.

On a flat deck with not much assistance for the seamers, England’s openers Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy made merry with a 115-run stand that came at almost run-a-ball. Having just returned from an exceptional debut IPL campaign, Bairstow was in full flow as Pakistan’s pacers were made to toil.

Roy, on the other hand, was scratchy to start having just recovered from illness but soon grew into confidence as the innings progressed. While Bairstow departed after an entertaining 45-ball 51, Roy continued to march on and was looking good for a century before perishing to Hasan Ali on 87 (98).

A prolific return for Jason Roy.

A prolific return for Jason Roy.

BUTTLER SHOWS WHO THE BOSS

The solid platform laid by England’s openers is exactly the sort of situation in which their big hitters like Jos Buttler and Eoin Morgan thrive and the two batsmen needed no second invitation.

Buttler smashed a six off Yasir Shah off his very second delivery to set the tone for the rest of his innings as he raced away to a half-century off just 32 balls. That was just an appetiser for the main treat to come with the right-hander scoring another 50 runs off his next 18 deliveries to bring up the second quickest ODI hundred in history for England.

Buttler reached the landmark with his ninth six of the innings in an exhibition of sublime hitting which saw England collect 162 runs in the final 15 overs. His destructive act with the bat saw Shaheen Afridi, Hasan Ali and Yasir Shah face the music with all three Pakistan bowlers going at more than eight runs an over.

England skipper Morgan wasn’t to be left out in the mayhem with the southpaw amassing an unbeaten 71 off 48 deliveries.

PAKISTAN FALL SHORT DESPITE FAKHAR’S BRILLIANCE

Chasing a mammoth 374, Pakistan were given an excellent start by their openers with Fakhar Zaman finding form after what has been a lean period for him. The left-hander took the attack to England right from the start and kept Pakistan abreast of the asking rate through valuable partnerships with first Imam-ul-Haq and then Babar Azam.

Bringing up his fourth ODI century off just 84 deliveries, Fakhar looked to be in the mood for a second double ton in the format before his 138-run blitz was brought to an end by an England review.

The opener’s brilliance was then backed up by Asif Ali who made a strong case for his selection to Pakistan’s World Cup squad as a finisher down the order. The right-hander dealt primarily in sixes and whacked four of them while registering his second ODI fifty.

Through their heroics, the visitors were on course to pull off the second highest chase in ODI history but David Willey struck two crucial late blows by dismissing Asif Ali and Imad Wasim in successive overs.

That left Sarfraz Ahmed and Co with too much to do in the final two overs as a valiant Pakistan effort fell just short of the finish line.

BRIEF SCORES

England: 373-3

Jos Buttler: 110 not out (55)

Jason Roy: 87 (98)

Pakistan: 361-7

Fakhar Zaman: 138 (106)

Babar Azam: 51 (52)

Asif Ali: 51 (36)

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