England defeat to Pakistan: Four #CricketWorldCup talking points
NOTTINGHAM – Pakistan lived up their reputation as the most unpredictable team in international cricket to shock World Cup favourites England at Trent Bridge on Monday.
Sarfaraz Ahmed's side took the fight to their top-ranked opponents from the start, reaching 348 for eight in their 50 overs, with Mohammad Hafeez (84) the top-scorer.
England appeared to hold the upper hand when century-makers Joe Root and Jos Buttler were at the crease but the host nation lost wickets at crucial times and fell 14 runs short.
Here are four talking points from the match:
Pakistan reverse horror run
Pakistan came into the match in Nottingham with defeats in their past 11 completed one-day internationals and on the back of a dispiriting loss against the West Indies in their World Cup opener.
But the 1992 champions showed why it was so dangerous to write them off.
Put in by England, Pakistan batted consistently, with man-of-the-match Hafeez leading the way. There were also half-centuries for Babar Azam and captain Sarfaraz.
“Everyone chipped in today and gave everything which was required to win the game,” Hafeez told Sky Sports.
“We needed one winning performance and then everyone contributed accordingly. It was a total team effort. It is a very happy dressing room.”
England centuries in vain
Jos Buttler and Joe Root both hit centuries in England's reply but it proved not to be enough.
Buttler (103) mixed watchfulness with power as he hit England's fastest-ever World Cup century, off 75 balls, while Root was more understated but equally effective in reaching 107.
But, crucially, both men were out shortly after completing their centuries, with neither able to anchor the final stages of the run chase.
Catches win matches
Chris Woakes equalled the record for the most catches taken in a World Cup match by an outfielder with four during a mixed fielding display by England.
Out of the eight wickets that Pakistan lost in their 50 overs, seven were catches, with Woakes' effort to dismiss Imam-ul-Haq the pick of the bunch.
But they dropped the most important of all, with Jason Roy putting down a simple chance offered up by Hafeez when he was on just 14.
Babar Azam dropping England century-maker Joe Root in the slips when he was on nine looked like a potentially decisive moment.
But it proved not to be costly as Pakistan held catches to get rid of both of England's century-makers.
Fast bowlers have made the headlines at the World Cup so far, using pace and bounce to unsettle opponents in a series of one-sided contests.
The West Indies quicks have brought back memories of their famed pace attacks, while New Zealand's Lockie Ferguson and England's Jofra Archer have also been among the wickets.
But England's Moeen Ali gave a reminder of the key role that spinners can play with figures of three wickets for 50 runs to slow Pakistan's charge as the batting side took a shine to the pacemen.
England opening bowlers Chris Woakes and Archer went wicketless, conceding 150 runs in their combined total of 18 overs.
Agence France-Presse (AFP)