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Rain plays spoilsport after Pakistan bounce back with quick strikes
Match Report

Rain plays spoilsport after Pakistan bounce back with quick strikes

Pakistan fought back tremendously to stifle England’s charge by denting the hosts with a procession of wickets before persistent rain caused the abandonment of the first T20I.

England had rocketed along at a steep rate following a quiet start as opener Tom Banton lifted his side with a blistering 71.

Banton took the attack to the Pakistan bowlers with his lofty shots yielding maximum result as he set up a glorious exhibition of six-hitting.

Banton’s exit prompted a mighty collapse that saw England lose four wickets for just 14 runs in 19 deliveries but their further slide was prevented by a steady downpour.

The long wait for the resumption of play prolonged despite rain stopping at one point as the umpires got together for a lengthy inspection.

Although the super soppers were in action trying to prepare the ground for a five-over chase, the match officials decided the field was unsuitable for the game to get back on.

Had a five-over chase been the scenario finalised by the umpires, Pakistan would have needed 56 to win the match in reply to England’s 131-6 in 16.1 overs.

Regardless of the anticlimactic conclusion of proceedings, Banton had a night to remember as he brought up his maiden T20I half-century.

The 21-year-old was promoted up the order to open alongside Jonny Bairstow following the injury to Jason Roy.

"It was good fun," Banton told Sky Sports in a chat during the rain interruption. "I struggled to begin with, they bowled quite nicely and then I just backed myself when the spinners came on."

Pakistan struck immediately in the first over of England’s innings when Bairstow’s tame drive ended up in the hands of spinner Imad Wasim in his follow-through.

Banton then took charge when he slog-swept Shadab Khan for two massive sixes to put the pressure on the tourists.

Dawid Malan and Banton added 71 swiftly for the second wicket but eventually the left-handed batsman was run-out for 23.

Banton, however, stood firm and blasted frequent boundaries to complete a 33-ball fifty featuring three fours and as many sixes.

The blazing strokeplay did not stop for the youngster, who continued to feast on the opposition’s bowling and hammered more boundaries.

The hallmark of Banton’s majestic innings was an audacious six over fine leg via a scoop off paceman Haris Rauf.

He was dismissed by Shadab, who gave extra air to his leg-break that the batsman sliced to Imad at long-on.

England captain Eoin Morgan was removed by Iftikhar Ahmed, the villain in the second over when he dropped Banton off Shaheen Afridi with the batter on just five.

Wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan, Pakistan’s man of the series during the Test assignment, had a brilliant time behind the stumps again as he pulled off a difficult catch offered by Moeen Ali and then stumped Lewis Gregory.

England seemed to be wilting away at the hands of the Pakistan spinners with the death overs approaching but were spared potentially more embarrassment by the rain gods.

The second fixture of the three-match series will take place at the same venue on Sunday.

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