England prevailed with a ball to spare in their first-ever Twenty20 super over to complete a 3-0 series whitewash against Pakistan, and take their winning streak to six matches.
A thrilling encounter finished in a tie at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium after Shoaib Malik’s career-best 75 took the hosts to the brink of victory in pursuit of England’s 154 for eight. Then, in the super over, Chris Jordan conceded only three runs to Shahid Afridi and Umar Akmal, allowing Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler to seal the win in an over from home captain Afridi.
Shoaib had transformed Pakistan’s initial chase as he and Afridi delighted a large home crowd in a sixth-wicket stand of 66. But defending 10 in the final over, Chris Woakes – who had figured in a seventh-wicket partnership of 60 in 40 balls with James Vince – overcame being clubbed for six over long on by tailender Sohail Tanvir. He had Shoaib caught on the same boundary from what should have been the penultimate ball of the match, and a scrambled bye levelled the scores.
In England’s first patchy batting performance, after Morgan won the toss, Vince was starved of the strike throughout but top-scored with 46.
David Willey took three for 36 in Pakistan’s reply. But Shoaib raced to his fourth Twenty20 International 50 in 39 balls, with four fours and two sixes, and Afridi typically hit three maximums in his 29 from 20.
England had lost a wicket to the first ball of the match, Jason Roy falling to Twenty20 debutant Amir Yamin – and then, after a second-wicket stand of 48 with Joe Root, it was not until Woakes came in at No 8 that Vince had another lasting ally. Vince was eventually caught in the deep from the penultimate ball of the innings but like Woakes, he had hit a career-best by then.
Roy went instantly when Yamin nipped one back to have him lbw on the back foot and Root missed an attempted big hit at Afridi, who brought himself on in the powerplay.
Moeen Ali departed for his second successive duck when he clubbed a pull back to the leg-spinner first ball.
The introduction of Shoaib was too much for Morgan who stayed leg-side of the ball from round the wicket and was bowled by a hint of turn.
When Jos Buttler ran himself out, and Sam Billings went to a very good juggling catch at midwicket, England were 86 for six in the 13th over. But Vince did not panic, and Woakes turned support into dominance as 54 runs came in the last five overs.
He was dropped by Anwar Ali at third-man, skying a slower ball from Mohammad Irfan on 19, and responded by hitting his next delivery for his second six.
Willey bowled four leg-side wides in his first over, but Pakistan still lost two wickets. Ahmed Shehzad was bowled and then Mohammad Hafeez was run out. Rafatullah Mohammed shuffled across to be lbw for a duck to Willey and at 11 for three Pakistan had made much of their own trouble.
Adil Rashid added a very good reaction caught-and-bowled to see off Mohammad Rizwan.
Pakistan needed around 100 off the last 10 overs, a tough task made no easier when Akmal was very well caught at deep midwicket by a tumbling Jordan off Moeen. But Shoaib and Afridi responded wonderfully.
Afridi was eventually bowled trying to sweep Willey and, although Shoaib continued with his neat deflections and fierce hitting, Jordan would have the final telling say in overtime.