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England v Pakistan: Third IT20 round-up

England fell just short in a fantastic comeback win in a real nailbiter at Old Trafford on Tuesday night as Pakistan picked up a five-run victory despite a sensational batting display from Moeen Ali.

The off-spinning all-rounder made 61 from 33 balls in an innings that changed the complexion of the game completely and put Eoin Morgan’s side in the driving seat.

England named the same side that has played both previous games this series with a number of players likely eyeing a starting place against the Aussies.

Moeen struck with the seventh ball of the match, sliding a quicker one past Fakhar Zaman, but teenage debutant Haider Ali and Pakistan skipper Babar Azam ensured the visitors got off to a quick start.

It takes a good ball to remove a player of Babar’s quality and Tom Curran produced just that, rearranging the right-hander’s stumps.

That brought the experienced Mohammed Hafeez to the crease and he looked up for it alright. Hafeez, whose debut came just three years after teammate Haider Ali was born, produced an impressive innings and would go on to make 84.

England wrestled back control on a number of occasions, not least when Chris Jordan produced a picture-perfect in-swinging yorker to remove Haider Ali after the 19-year-old had become the first Pakistan batsman to score a half-century on his IT20 debut, but their opponents would finish on 190.

Jonny Bairstow received the second scorching yorker of the night and was sent back to the pavilion for a duck but Tom Banton continued to prove his quality on the international stage.

The 21-year-old made 46, meaning only Hafeez has outscored him during the series, and showcased his impressive array of shots but with Dawid Malan and captain Morgan falling cheaply, England looked in trouble.

Enter Moeen, who is certainly no stranger to some T20 heroics. He produced some mesmerising strokeplay to turn the game on its head and pull England right back into contention.

There are few more elegant players in the Three Lions camp than the all-rounder, whose lofted off-drive for six is without doubt a contender for shot of the summer.

Along with Sam Billings, Ali helped take England close before he was dismissed for 61 but it was Curran that very nearly found a way over the line.

As we saw in South Africa, the Surrey quick loves some final-ball drama and when, needing 12 from two, he smashed a six you thought this action-packed summer might have another dramatic victory in it.

As it was Pakistan got the job done to secure a tight win that levels the series after two T20s that have shown what this format is all about!

Huge thanks to the tourists for coming over and competing over the last month or so. Our focus now switches to the Aussies!