The first big upset of the 2019 ICC World Cup was staged in front of a packed Trent Bridge when an out-of-form Pakistan team thrashed the tournament favourites, England by 14 runs in a high-scoring affair. Having lost back-to-back eleven games, this victory will boost their confidence heading into this long tournament. This was Pakistan cricket at its very best, unpredictable, contrasting and yet exciting. In their last two games, Pakistan scored their second-lowest World Cup total (105 vs WI) and their second-highest World Cup score (348 vs ENG) which justifies their capricious tag.
England will learn from this lesson as their casual approach, and sloppy fielding cost them the match against Pakistan. Eoin Morgan must be frustrated to end up on the losing side after his team produced two centurions. Joe Root (107) smashed the first ton of this World Cup followed by Jos Buttler’s remarkable 76-ball century. However, their efforts went in vain as Pakistan won the game by 14 runs. England will be disappointed with their bowling effort apart from Mooen Ali, who picked three wickets at a crucial time for his side. Jofra Archer along with Mark Wood and Chris Woakes looked clueless when Pakistan batsmen were bashing them out of the park.
Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman provided Pakistan with a blazing start, adding 82 runs for the opening wicket. Babar Azam played almost run-a-ball for his 66-ball 63 while Sarfraz came up the order to dominate the spinners and scored 55 from 44 deliveries. However, it was Md. Hafeez’s matchwinning knock (84 off 62) which took the game away from the hosts in the middle overs. ‘Prof’ took on Adil Rashid from ball one, not allowing him to settle down during his spell. Asif Ali, Hassan Ali and Shadab Khan chipped in with their useful contribution to power their side to 348 runs.
In reply, England lost an early wicket of Jason Roy to put them on the back foot since the third over. Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root combined well to stable the inning before Bairstow fell to Wahab Riaz against the run of play. The skipper Morgan and Stokes followed him shortly back to the dugout, and Jos Buttler took over the stage. He, along with Joe Root, added 130 runs for the fifth wicket to put the Pakistan bowlers under pressure. However, the experience of Wahab Riaz and Md Amir came handy as the duo took four wickets in the back end of the inning to knock out English Lions after Shabad Khan sent Joe Root back.
Pakistan must be ecstatic win such a comprehensive victory over the World number one ODI side. On the contrary, England has to remind themselves of their weakness before any other team exploits it in this tournament. Whatever may be the result of this match, it brought back the joy, despair, anguish and exhilaration that no other team could have got but for Pakistan.