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(BBC) — England suffered a stunning upset at the hands of inspired Pakistan in their second World Cup match at Trent Bridge.
The hosts and favourites were surprisingly lacklustre in the field as Pakistan, roared on by their noisy and vibrant fans, posted 348-8.
Even though England have made a habit of overhauling such targets, they were still faced with having to pull off the most successful chase in World Cup history.
And they were denied by the rejuvenated Pakistanis, who had lost their previous 11 one-day internationals including a 4-0 series defeat by England prior to the tournament and then a humiliation against West Indies on this ground on Friday.
Despite Joe Root’s 107, the first century of the tournament, and a 75-ball ton from Jos Buttler, England were restricted to 334-9 to lose by 14 runs.
In a tournament where the 10 teams play each other once to determine the semi-finalists, there are plenty of opportunities for England to get their campaign back on track, starting with Bangladesh in Cardiff on Saturday.
Pakistan, renowned for veering from shambolic to sublime in global tournaments, will look to continue their resurgence in Sri Lanka in Bristol on Friday.
The day the World Cup came to life
After England opened their tournament by beating South Africa at The Oval on Thursday, captain Eoin Morgan asserted that they will not go through the competition unbeaten.
Similarly, on Sunday, Pakistan bowling coach Azhar Mahmood defiantly claimed his side could reverse their fortunes and beat Morgan’s men.
Both were right.
Indeed, both sides were almost entirely transformed from their first matches. Whereas Pakistan improved immeasurably, England were inexplicably shoddy.
Not only that, but England often let their frustrations boil over in the field and there were a number of noticeable moments of tension between the two sides when they came to bat.
All of this was played out in an electric atmosphere, created mainly by Pakistan fans, whose near constant din was only dimmed when Root and Buttler were together.
The tension of the contest and energy of the crowd amounted to a wonderful occasion. This was the day that the World Cup came to life.
Root and Buttler tons not enough
On a slow pitch, England’s top order struggled for impetus against the tricky spin and hostile pace of Pakistan.
Like South Africa on Thursday, Pakistan opened with spin and saw Shadab Khan trap Jason Roy lbw. When Ben Stokes edged Shoaib Malik behind, it meant Buttler arrived at 118-4 with 231 required from just under 28 overs.
He was immediately into his destructive stride, heaving sixes over the leg side and driving through the covers. At the other end, Root, who was dropped by Babar Azam on nine, accumulated runs with dabs and nudges.
While they were at the crease, England were on course for victory, but both fell just after reaching three figures.
Root sliced Shadab to short third man, Buttler (103) fell in almost identical fashion to the pace of Mohammad Amir.
Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali turned an equation of 61 from 39 balls to 29 from 14, but when both fell in successive Wahab Riaz deliveries, the game was up.
Slapdash England punished
By the metric of their own team analyst, England put in their best fielding performance for four years in defeating South Africa. This must rank as one of their worst.
Not only was the ground fielding littered with errors, but Roy put down the most straightforward chance off Mohammad Hafeez on 14. Hafeez went on to make 84.
Woakes at least equalled a World Cup record with four catches, three superbly taken on the boundary, but he was one of a number of disappointing bowlers – his 3-71 made more respectable by some improved death bowling.
Adil Rashid and Jofra Archer were expensive as only Moeen, who claimed 3-50, and Mark Wood, in the side for Liam Plunkett, provided any sort of control.
Pakistan, who were blown away by a barrage of West Indies bouncers on Friday, cashed in.
Openers Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq added 82 in 14 overs, with Babar then particularly harsh on Rashid in his 63. Hafeez was the most aggressive, while captain Sarfaraz Ahmed favoured the leg side for 55.
‘A great advertisement for the tournament’ – what they said
England captain Eoin Morgan: “It was a very good game of cricket and a great advertisement for the tournament. We’re bitterly disappointed to be on the wrong end of the result though.
“Trent Bridge is a high scoring ground, we felt the wicket was good, the outfield was rapid and we thought if we got partnerships going, 350 was in our grasp.
“Joe and Jos kept us in the game. If we could have got a substantial partnership earlier, we might have got over the line.”
Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed: “It was a great team effort. The bowlers bowled really well today.
“We tried a couple of different things – we started with Shadab because we know their openers are not good against spin.
“Fielding is a very important part. In the last ODI series it was different. Today we fielded better and we bowled better.”
Former England captain Michael Vaughan on TMS: “England’s fielding certainly cost them 30 or 40 runs.
“Full credit to Pakistan – the support they’ve had, the atmosphere they created. I think we’re in for a fantastic tournament because of all the support.
“I think we’re going right to the wire.”
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