Heather Knight's 43 laid the foundation to England's win. © PCB

Christmas came early for England as they claimed the T20I series against Pakistan, 3-0, romping home by 26 runs in the third and final match at Kinrara Academy Oval, Kuala Lumpur on Friday.

Chasing a competitive target of 171, Pakistan started off well with Ayesha Zafar and Nahida Khan hitting regular boundaries. Anya Shrubsole, who was rested in the last match, picked up the first wicket as she got Zafar leg-before for nine. In no time Nahida (8) returned to the dugout, popping a catch to Danielle Wyatt on the square leg boundary off Sarah Glenn while attempting to sweep.

Two early dismissals brought Pakistan skipper Bismah Maroof to the middle. The partnership between Maroof and Javeria Khan did not last long either as Pakistan skipper got stumped for 17, leaving her team at 68 for 3 after 10.5 overs. Omaima Sohail and Javeria took the side past 100, but soon after a smart catch by Sophie Ecclestone off her own bowling ended Omaima’s stay at the crease for 16.

The right-hander tried to create room and hit Ecclestone through the off-side but the left-arm spinner dove towards her left and took a good catch. Ecclestone’s teammates did not join in on the half-hearted appeal, but when reviewed, it turned out the left-arm spinner had completed a return catch. Meanwhile, Javeria welcomed her well-compiled fifty off 43 balls.

Sidra Nawaz came out at number seven and hammered Mady Villers for four consecutive boundaries in the penultimate over, which however came way too late as Pakistan were restricted to 144 for the loss of five. Javeria and Sidra remained unbeaten on 57 and 19 respectively.

Earlier, contributions from the top-order led by skipper Heather Knight (43) powered England to post 170 for 3 after opting to bat first.

Anam Amin and Diana Baig bowled straight to keep things tight for openers Wyatt and Amy Jones. Wyatt broke the shackles with a welcoming boundary through extra cover off Baig. As the duo started to punish Pakistan bowlers, Baig got an early and big breakthrough after getting hit for a six. While looking for another boundary, Wyatt played straight up in the air but ended up giving an easy catch to Omaima at mid-on.

A disappointed Wyatt (25) walked back leaving England at 31/1 in 4.2 overs. Knight joined Jones and cautiously rebuilt the innings. Once settled in, Jones hammered Pakistan skipper for back to back boundaries, stealing 14 runs off Maroof while Knight took on the 15-year-old Aroob Shah and smashed two maximums. England reached the 100-run mark inside 12 overs.

Jones, who had registered two consecutive fifties, missed her third half-century as she gifted her wicket while trying to reverse sweep. The right-hander was caught for 37 at short-third off Omaima. In the next over, Knight followed Jones back in the dugout as England skipper slogged and was caught by Javeria at deep mid-wicket off Baig.

Following the dismissal of two set batters, Fran Wilson and Tammy Beaumont slowly carried the momentum. A quick and unbeaten 52-run partnership from just 35 balls saw some cheeky running between the wickets, a couple of boundaries and as many sixes. For Pakistan, Baig returned with two wickets and conceded 28 runs.

Brief scores: England 170/3 in 20 overs (Heather Knight 43, Amy Jones 27; Diana Baig 2-28) beat Pakistan 144/5 in 20 overs (Javeria Khan 57*, Sarah Glenn 2-12, Anya Shrubsole 2-15) by 26 runs. PoM: Heather Knight. PoS: Amy Jones.