Alex Hales smashes half-century as Pakistan suffer loss in opening T20I

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Wed, 21/09/2022
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Alex Hales smashes half-century as Pakistan suffer loss in opening T20I
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IANS

At the National Stadium in this city, the visitors trounced Pakistan by six wickets with four balls remaining to take a 1-0 lead in the seven-match T20I series. Opening batsman Alex Hales, who had been absent from the team for more than three years, smashed a half-century. 

Hales' sensational return to the international game, which was boosted by seven boundaries, and Harry Brook's striking at the death helped England defeat Pakistan's 158/7 in 19.2 overs as both teams prepared for the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia.

Hales gave a fantastic performance in just his first England appearance in three and a half years, and the opener may very well be a crucial part of their T20 World Cup campaign next month. 

With Phil Salt (10) and Dawid Malan (20), the opener helped England reach 47/1 after the powerplay. He continued to bat until the 17th over, when he was eventually bowled by Haris Rauf. 

After Jonny Bairstow's unfortunate injury, Hales took his place in the T20 World Cup team. Hales, who has substantial domestic experience in Australia (Big Bash League) and Pakistan (Pakistan Super League), should now spearhead England's tournament drive at the top of the order.

On the other side, Pakistan's bottom order batting once again struggled to deliver, despite the openers' solid performance. 

The platform was set for a total of 175 or more at the halfway point, but a second half of 71/6 left the host with a score of 158, which was below par. 

With Mohammad Rizwan (68 off 46 balls) gone in the 15th over, Babar Azam's team managed just 38 runs in the final five overs. Iftikhar Ahmed (28 off 17 balls) gave it his all, but he was unsuccessful in finding a partner since Shan Masood (7), Mohammad Nawaz (4), and Khushdil Shah (5) all dismissed for low scores.

Although the heroics of Asif Ali in the T20 World Cup last year are still vivid in people's minds, it is yet unknown who will be trusted at the end of the match in the competition next month. 

Harry Brook had his greatest performance for England in his fifth T20I, scoring an unbeaten 42 from 25 balls and leading his team to victory in the final over. With seven boundaries, the last of which ended the game, Brook appeared to be the most at ease among the English batsmen on the Karachi surface. 

With England requiring eight runs per over when the No. 5 joined Hales, he displayed maturity that belied both his youth and experience, gradually reducing the needed rate down.

Brief scores: Pakistan 158/7 in 20 overs (Mohammad Rizwan 61, Babar Azam 31; Luke Wood 3/24, Adil Rashid 2/27) lost to England 160/4 in 19.2 overs (Alex Hales 53, Harry Brook 42 not out) by six wickets.