England set up T20I series decider with Pakistan as Phil Salt powers tourists to thumping win in Lahore

England make mincemeat of target of 170, with Phil Salt smashing 87no from 41 balls as tourists cruise to victory with 33 balls to spare; Sunday’s final fixture a series decider; Babar Azam’s 87 not out from 59 balls in vain for Pakistan on day he passes 3,000 T20I runs

Last Updated: 30/09/22 6:58pm

Phil Salt smashed 87 not out from 41 balls as England set up a T20I series decider against Pakistan

Phil Salt blasted 87 not out from 41 balls as England brushed off their recent batting failings by cruising to a target of 170 in the sixth T20 international against Pakistan and making Sunday’s final fixture a series decider.

England had allowed a 2-1 lead in the series turn into a 3-2 deficit after two bungled run chases in games four and five, but were brutal batting second on Friday night, with Salt the spearhead as they cantered home with 33 balls to spare in Lahore to win by eight wickets and level proceedings at 3-3.

Salt, who rushed to his half-century from just 19 balls, bludgeoned 55 from 23 deliveries with opening partner Alex Hales (27 off 12), the fifty stand coming up after just three overs as Mohammad Nawaz, Shahnawaz Dahani and Mohammad Wasim were pummelled for a combined 10 boundaries.

Salt continued to pepper the fence after Hales was caught off Shadab Khan in the fourth over, with his pulsating innings containing 13 fours and three sixes and perhaps even pushing him ahead of Hales in the battle to open with white-ball skipper Jos Buttler at next month’s T20 World Cup.

The Lancashire opener pulverised Pakistan, dominating a second-wicket stand of 76 from just 34 balls with Dawid Malan (26 off 18) as he rebounded from single-figure dismissals in his previous three innings.

Salt clinched England’s victory in the company of Ben Duckett (26no off 16) – Malan having been pinned lbw by a delivery from Shadab that shot along the ground – as the tourists made mincemeat of Pakistan’s 169-6 and rendered home skipper Babar Azam’s supreme 87 from 59 balls in vain.

Babar Azam is the joint-fastest player to 3,000 T20 international runs, alongside India's Virat Kohli

Babar Azam is the joint-fastest player to 3,000 T20 international runs, alongside India’s Virat Kohli

Babar played quite beautifully after Pakistan were inserted by Moeen Ali, becoming the joint-fastest player, alongside India’s Virat Kohli, to reach 3,000 T20 international runs, doing so in his 81st innings.

Babar reached the landmark with a sublime straight six off Richard Gleeson, one of three maximums he managed to go with seven fours in his 27th T20I international half-century – although the gloss of that achievement would have been taken off by his team’s heavy defeat.

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