England have taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the second installment of their three-match T20 international series against Pakistan following a narrow three-run victory at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on 27 November. Showing four changes from the side that were victorious by 14 runs yesterday and led for the first time by Jos Buttler in the absence of rested skipper Eoin Morgan, the tourists elected to bat first before setting a generous target of 173 thanks to solid contributions from Jason Roy, James Vince and Buttler.
That particular trio weighed in with 29, 38 and 33 respectively, while Joe Root added 20 before being caught at mid-wicket by Shahid Afridi off the bowling of Shoaib Malik. Experienced captain Afridi finished with figures of three for 15 from his four overs, trapping Alex Hales lbw for the opening wicket at 32-1 before seeing Roy and later Vince dismissed courtesy of catches from Sarfraz Ahmed and Anwar Ali.
Buttler fell after a faint edge off Sohail Tanvir carried behind to Ahmed, while Kent's Sam Billings failed to match his impressive first match haul of 53 as he was dismissed for 11 by a quite excellent juggling catch from Umar Akmal on the boundary. Liam Plunkett scored a solitary run before edging behind off Ali and David Willey was caught by Sohaib Maqsood. Chris Woakes and Adil Rashid added a further 18 before England finished on 172-8, a total yet to be successfully surpassed in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
In response, Pakistan - who won the Test series between these two nations 2-0 before losing the subsequent one-day quadruple-header 3-1 - reached 51 without loss before top scorer Ahmed Shehzad was stumped by Buttler. The same fate befell fellow opener and 39-year-old debutant Rafatullah Mohmand shortly after, although Mohammad Hafeez added 25 before a thick edge found Willey. Maqsood lasted just six balls before being totally undone by a brilliantly disguised googly from Rashid and Akmal, run out in the first match, fared little better as he was controversially given out for just three despite the ball from Plunkett appearing to hit only his thigh pad on its way through to Buttler.
Malik notched 26 from 21 deliveries before becoming Plunkett's third victim of the day as he was caught by Billings stationed at mid-wicket and any chance of victory appeared greatly diminished as the determined Afridi blasted 28 in extremely quick fashion before his swift innings was brought to a close thanks to a catch from Plunkett at third man. The hosts were left needing 11 runs from their final five balls after Ahmed was bowled whilst trying to sweep Woakes, but Tanvir and Ali were unable to apply the finishing touches. The third and final T20 takes place in Sharjah on Monday 30 November.