England celebrate a wicket. © PCB

Pakistan slipped from poor in the ODIs to abysmal in the T20I format to concede the series, 2-0, against England with one game to spare. In the second T20I, they faced 17 consecutive dot balls, using up 12.2 overs of their innings without scoring. Chasing a daunting target of 186, the situation required for them to attack, but the hosts’ top order failed to show any positive intent.

Earlier in the day, Pakistan’s bowlers failed to attack the stumps often. Either they were too short or too wide which allowed Amy Jones and Danielle Wyatt to free their arms and score boundaries at will. The spinners, so used to controlling the run-flow, failed to tie up the batters. Anam Amin, the left-arm spinner, was the only one able to somewhat maintain control of proceedings, conceding only 30 runs in her four over spell. However, after a torrid 16 overs, Pakistan managed to pull things back by taking wickets at the back end of the innings, but by then, the damage had been done.

Through the series, it has been Pakistan’s batting that has let them down in both the ODIs and T20Is. The lack of any substantial partnerships and a failure to rotate strike has been their biggest problem. Only Bismah Maroof, the skipper, has applied herself and found the right template to score runs. The rest of the line-up are either throwing their wickets away playing rash shots before they get set or failing to capitalise on good starts. The top-order’s continuous failures have put additional pressure on the middle and lower order, making it that much harder for them to put in useful performances. With only one T20I remaining, it would be interesting to see whether Pakistan are finally able to put together a good, aggressive performance with the bat – something their openers showed in the final ODI last week.

On the other hand, England have been very positive and aggressive throughout the games, comfortably crushing Pakistan to dominate the series. Jones has led from the front in the batting department and the rest of the batters have capitalized on the good starts by the top-order. What though has caught many by surprise is the form of their spinners. England’s spinners have squeezed the hosts with flight, turn and consistent lines. If it was Sarah Glenn in the ODI series with eight wickets, then it was the turn of Sophie Ecclestone to deliver in the T20Is. The tall left-arm spinner has picked up five wickets at an average of 5.20, forming a lethal combination with Glenn.

With just a game to go, England will look to come out all guns blazing to secure a whitewash. On the other hand, Pakistan would do well to find some confidence and what appears to be lost form in the final T20I on Friday (December 20).

Squads:

Pakistan: Bismah Maroof (c), Aliya Riaz, Anam Amin, Syeda Aroob Shah, Ayesha Zafar, Diana Baig, Fatima Sana, Iram Javed, Javeria Khan, Nahida Khan, Nida Dar, Omaima Sohail, Rameen Shamim, Sadia Iqbal, Sidra Nawaz (wk).

England: Heather Knight (c), Amy Jones (wk), Anya Shrubsole, Danielle Wyatt, Fran Wilson, Freya Davies, Kate Cross, Katherine Brunt, Kirstie Gordon, Lauren Winfield, Mady Villiers, Natalie Sciver, Sarah Glenn, Sophie Ecclestone, Tammy Beaumont.

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