And welcome to live coverage of the second Twenty20 of seven and the second of four in Karachi during the white-ball segment of England’s first tour to Pakistan for 17 years. Although it took them 116 balls to chase down Pakistan’s rather modest score on Tuesday, victory, at least following Adil Rashid’s dismissal of Babar Azam, never looked in significant doubt … and the thoroughbred Harry Brook duly led them home.
All the criticism for the Pakistan captain before the game looked misplaced: their problem isn’t his strike rate at the top of the order, it’s the middle order’s inability to slog spin or even read Rashid. While they were giving the impression of walking across a glue trap after the Powerplay, England’s quickest bowler, Luke Wood, knocked them over.
Richard Gleeson struggled with a back problem in the first match and is likely to make way today which will give England the opportunity to assess either how Olly Stone’s rehabilitation is going or give a debut to Tom Helm. Both can replicate Gleeson’s pace which, given the sterility of the pitch, will be necessary should they decide not to try Liam Dawson as the third spinner given Pakistan’s travails against Moeen and Rashid. Jos Buttler, Mark Wood, Chris Woakes and Reece Topley may not feature until the three Lahore games … if at all.
There is some talk of rotation in the batting, too, with Will Jacks or Jordan Cox potentially coming in for Ben Duckett who did well on his recall with a 17-ball 21 but may be fated to play only two or three times on tour because England want to give equal opportunities to each of their three middle-order prospects not in the World T20 squad.
As for Pakistan, I’d like to see Aamer Jamal make his debut – he is one batsman who can consistently score at a strike rate above 150 while Mohammad Hasnain, their third 90mph man, should come in for Naseem Shah who seemed to have a very muddled approach in the first T20, ignoring his blistering natural assets for some Dernbachian obsession with artlessly disguised slower balls.