LEEDS: England’s stand-in skipper Jos Buttler top-scored with 59 runs before England’s spinners Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali ripped through Pakistan’s batting line to seal a 45-run win and even the series at 1-1 on Sunday.
Pakistan’s openers made a promising start with the bat as they chased 201 runs at headingly, but they lost their stride after England fast bowler Saqib Mahmood dismissed Captain Babar Azam (22) in the sixth over.
In his second spell, leg-spinner Rashid removed Mohammad Rizwan and Sohaib Maqsood, tightening England’s grip in the middle overs.
Pakistan was reduced to 95-5 as off-spinner Moeen Ali dismissed veteran Mohammad Hafeez and Fakhar Zaman cheaply.
Before Mahmood returned to shred through the lower order and restrict the tourists to 155-9 in 20 overs, Azam Khan was stumped off Matt Parkinson’s leg-break.
Buttler had earlier marked his return to the national team by scoring his 14th T20 International fifty as England were bowled out for 200 with one ball remaining.
After recovering from a calf injury, Buttler was named captain, with Eoin Morgan opting to rest in order to rotate his squad ahead of the T20 World Cup this year.
Buttler and Ali restored order with a brisk 67-run partnership after the hosts lost Jason Roy and Dawid Malan in the first three overs.
Moeen Ali, the player-of-the-match, was eventually dismissed for 36 after scooping fast bowler Mohammad Hasnain to mid-off, but Buttler and Liam Livingstone boosted England’s scoring pace.
Buttler was caught at mid-off by Hasnain for Hasnain’s second wicket of the day, but Livingstone, fresh off reaching England’s quickest ever century at Trent Bridge on Thursday evening, produced another exciting innings for the home crowd.
Haris Rauf’s delivery was tonked clean over the newly completed Football Stand by Livingstone, who had the biggest hit of the day.
The right-handed batsman was dismissed for 38 runs in 23 balls before the lower order contributed 35 runs in the final four overs to raise England’s total to 200 for the second game in a row, this time to ensure victory.
Both clubs will now travel to Old Trafford on Tuesday for the series finale.
Result: England won by 45 runs to level three-match 1-1.
Umpires: M.J. Saggers (England) and A.G. Wharf (England).
TV Umpire: D.J. Millns (England).
Match Referee: W.M. Noon (England).
Player-Of-The-Match: Moeen Ali.
First Match: Trent Bridge, Pakistan won by 31 runs.
Third Match: Old Trafford, Tuesday (10:30pm).