England women 138 for 7 (Wilson 43*) beat Pakistan 103 (Gunn 2-7) by 35 runs
Fran Wilson top-scored in her first international appearance in more than five years, while Amy Jones once again restated her qualities as Sarah Taylor's replacement behind the stumps, as England's women were forced to battle hard for the ascendancy before sealing a comfortable 35-run victory in the second T20 against Pakistan at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.
In the end, England's depth proved the difference, as Pakistan's middle- and lower-order faded after a spirited start to their pursuit of 139. They lost their last four wickets for 19 runs in 36 balls, with Jenny Gunn, England's veteran allrounder, returning the ultra-parsimonious figures of 2 for 7 in four overs of wicket-to-wicket medium pace.
However, after the power-hitting exploits that had marked England's victories in the first four matches of the tour, their performance on Tuesday was a timely reminder of the fragilities that still exist in a line-up that has been significantly remodelled since their disappointing World T20 campaign in March.
After winning the toss, Heather Knight chose to bat first on a flat surface with tantalisingly short boundaries - apparently the rope was brought in to the minimum 55 metre-mark at the behest of England's coach, Mark Robinson. However, the captain herself struck the only six of the innings as Pakistan responded to the challenge by bringing their spinners to the fore - all four of them, whose tidy and threatening lines of attack exposed an England batting line-up that had hardly been called upon all summer, due in no small part to the towering success of their opening partnership.
The match began, sure enough, with an extension of a formidable record for Lauren Winfield and Tammy Beaumont. The pair had come into the game with 664 runs between them in three ODIs and one T20 to date, including seven sixes and 83 fours at a strike-rate of 110.48. And, when Winfield began her day's work with three fours from the first four balls of Aiman Anwar's international career, it seemed the summer's narrative was set to continue.
But then Aiman hit back at the end of her second over, trapping Beaumont lbw for 5 with an inswinging yorker that replays suggested would have missed the stumps. There on, England lost a touch of fluency to their batting. Winfield was badly dropped at extra cover off the bowling of Sadia Yousuf, the left-arm spinner, but then picked out long-off from her very next delivery - Aiman, right in the thick of the action, held a well-judged chance right on the edge of the rope to reduce England to 44 for 2 in the seventh over.
Natalie Sciver, England's hard-hitting allrounder, got off the mark first ball with a cut for two through point, but fireworks proved elusive as she and Knight failed to make the most of their starts - Knight was excellently stumped by Sidra Nawaz as Nida Dar, the offspinner, slid a wide one across her bows, before Sciver fell one over later, caught at long-on as she attempted to up the ante against Yousuf's left-arm spin.
It was left to Wilson to apply some gloss to the latter stages of England's innings - her 43 nor out from 39 balls featured three fours, including an excellent one-bounce thump for four down the ground from the penultimate ball of the innings as Pakistan's deep-set field, which had previously challenged the batsmen to clear the rope or settle for the single, was finally pierced by the best shot of the innings.
But thanks in part to England's improved running between the wickets, a total of 138 for 7 always promised to be a touch out of Pakistan's reach, not least after a frantic first over from Katherine Brunt. Having been run out for 3 in the final over of England's innings, Brunt's mood quickly worsened when Sidra Ameen's first-ball mow was caught by Jones behind the stumps but over-ruled for a front-foot no-ball. Two balls later, however, Ameen was sent on her way for a duck - run out by a direct hit from Danielle Wyatt at point, after a tentative poke from Javeria Khan had been spilled in the gully by Knight.
Jones then showcased her class as a wicketkeeper in Sciver's opening over, as she held her shape to a very wide swipe from Bismah Maroof and clung onto a thick edge to reduce Pakistan to 8 for 2. Javeria hit back with power and placement, taking advantage of the Powerplay with five fours in a 17-ball 23, before Knight induced Jones' third catch and second dismissal of the innings, another ambitious swipe that led to a backpedalling chance.
Pakistan refused to relinquish hope as they carried on going for their strokes, particularly across the line, but aside from one powerful connection for six from Asmavia Iqbal - her 13th in T20s, more than any other Pakistan player - they struggled to keep in touch with a mounting run-rate. Sophie Ecclestone, the 17-year-old left-arm spinner, once again displayed her composure in picking off two late wickets, before Danielle Hazell secured an unassailable 2-0 series lead by having Nida caught in the deep by Brunt with two balls of the innings left unused.