God, how good was it to have international T20 cricket back?
The three-match series between England and Pakistan was billed as an exciting one and, despite a first game washout, it proved exactly that.
Eoin Morgan’s men chased down 195 in style to win the second game of the series but fell just short in a nailbiter in the final clash of the series, meaning it finished a 1-1 draw.
It was a shame to be without the raucous atmosphere that has become such a big part of T20 cricket but, fingers crossed, we’re moving in the right direction on that one.
With many of England’s regular starters missing due to their red-ball responsibilities, this series handed opportunities for some players to stake their claim ahead of next year’s T20 World Cup.
With Jason Roy missing at the top of the order, Tom Banton did just that. The 21-year-old showed his remarkable range of shots and brutal power with only Mohammed Hafeez adding more than his 137 runs in the series.
Banton has shown that more than just a star of the future, he’s a potential game-changer right now.
Another day, another @tbanton18 reverse sweep 💥
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) September 1, 2020
Dawid Malan maintained his sensational record in IT20 cricket – 533 runs in 13 games at an average of 50.27 – and finishes the series ranked five on the ICC’s World Rankings for batsmen in the shortest format.
The Yorkshire left-hander has made himself a very difficult man to take out of the team and alongside Banton, looks set to be part of many squads moving forward.
A word for the heroics of Moeen Ali as well. The England all-rounder provided a breathtaking innings of 61 from 33 balls, playing some stupendous shots in the process, and nearly led us to an improbable victory in the final game of the series.
It’s great to see him back doing what he does best on the international stage!
Where does that leave us?
England came desperately close to grabbing victory at Old Trafford last night and, with a number of their key men missing, can be pretty pleased with what they’ve seen over the last week or so.
Morgan’s men have got to feel they’re in a great place with fantastic depth in all areas and a starting XI that is one of, if not the best, in the world.
There’s an awful lot to be excited about ahead of next summer’s tournament.
And the opposition?
Having risen to the very top of the world T20 rankings and then suffered a rather difficult spell, Pakistan can be pleased with the cricket they played this series.
There remain some issues to be ironed out but Babar Azam and his side can feel they’re moving in the right direction – particularly after 19-year-old Haider Ali’s excellent half-century on debut.
We bid goodbye to Pakistan after a month or so of enthralling cricket. They deserve a huge amount of praise for coming over as they did and for playing their part in two excellent series!
England finish their summer with six white-ball ties against the Aussies. Most of the missing men will be back for the IT20 and ODI series, in what promises to be a fantastic way to cap off an unusual summer.