England went into the third One Day International buoyed by a dominant performance in the Second ODI. They looked to continue this dominance, and continue they did.
A great bowling and fielding performance restricted Pakistan to 208 all out before a good batting display knocked off their total with nine overs to spare.
Economical bowling thwarts Pakistan
After England lost what appeared to be an important toss, Pakistan started well. Their opening partnership looked solid as it took them to 45-0 off 11 overs. Chris Woakes finally broke the partnership as he dismissed Babar Azam for 15, when he top edged the short ball straight to Adil Rashid. The collapse that followed however was catastrophic, no partnership passed 50 as England's bowlers bowled well, Woakes again the pick of the bowlers as he took 4-40 from his 10 overs. Pakistan's innings was given some sustanance however with a late flourish from Wahab Riaz, 33*, and debutant Zafar Gohar who scored a run a ball 15.
It has to be said however Pakistan threw the game away. At the 30 over mark, the hosts were 132-3 and looked to be well in control of the game. What followed however was comical. A series of utterly stupid run-outs, which brought back memories of the famous Inzamam-Ul-Haq completely removed the spine of the Pakistani order, and in truth did the majority of England's work for them. Some credit must be given to England however, James Taylor at backward point saved countless runs and contributed to the run outs by building masses of pressure.
Taylor And Buttler Produce Mammoth Partnership
While England eventually won this game with a lot of time to spare, however it wasn't as simple as it appears. England lost Jason Roy and Joe Root, for seven and 11, quickly - both departing before the end of the sixth over. Alex Hales, 30, and Eoin Morgan, 35, went someway to reparing England's innings as they shared a partnership of 60. However both then departed soon after each other leaving England floundering on 93-4.
With the ball turning square and Pakistan's mammoth quick Mohammed Ifran getting unpredictable bounce, it was a tough situation for Taylor and Jos Buttler to try and get settled, especially Buttler with his lack of form recently. The two showed class beyond their age though, as they began the task of getting England across the line.
Despite some close shaves, a couple of extremely close LBW calls were turned down, Taylor and Buttler got their heads down and played out a gritty innings. Some classy reverse sweeps from Buttler were of course present, despite the unpredictable spin.
Buttler in the end finshed on 49* off 50 balls. Taylor's effort will take the plaudits however as he carved out 67 from 69 balls, nullifying the spinners and pace bowlers alike. In total however their individual efforts were dwarfed into insignificance by their effort together. An utterly unbeliveable partnership of 117* took England to a comfortable victory, reached with a typical slog from Buttler for 6 to end England's run chase.
Englands victory by 6 wickets with nine overs to spell has put England 2-1 up in the four match series, a position from which they can't lose the series. Pakistan will however be looking for victory in the final ODI, in Dubai on Friday, as they try to salvage anything from this series.