Matches (15)
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7th T20I (N), Lahore, October 02, 2022, England tour of Pakistan
(20 ov, T:210) 142/8

England won by 67 runs

Player Of The Match
78* (47)
Player Of The Series
238 runs

Pakistan and England set for knockout flavour ahead of T20 World Cup

Heading into the final T20I, the two sides find themselves level despite playing entirely different brands of cricket

Danyal Rasool
Danyal Rasool
Haris Rauf has become a true all-phase bowler for Pakistan  •  Getty Images

Haris Rauf has become a true all-phase bowler for Pakistan  •  Getty Images

Big picture

Every time an even number of games have been played in this series, Pakistan and England have found themselves level. After six intoxicating and wildly entertaining games, neither side has been able to pull clear, and you suspect the final game have would been a decider no matter how many matches this series was played across.
That is unusual in a sense because no matter how difficult it is to separate them, these are two entirely different T20 sides, and much of that has been evident over the past fortnight. England have the higher ceiling, evidenced never more succinctly than in the sixth T20I, where the full force of the visitors' batting order laid waste to Pakistan inside 15 overs.
Pakistan's higher floor, on the other hand, has enabled them to scrape to par totals even when most of their batters endured off days. That was on show in the fourth and fifth matches, when the hosts got themselves to a defensible total and clung on against an England side which does not possess that reliability at the top.
It might be a smidge harsh on England that the series is level if the nature of each side's wins were to be compared. England's triumphs have tended to be blowouts, those games encapsulating the gulf in raw T20 batting ability between the two sides. Pakistan, meanwhile, have found ways to eke out wins by harnessing the intangibles - momentum and pressure at key stages of matches, and of course their trademark unpredictability.
There were surely elements of fortune in the way Pakistan swung those games in their favour, but no side knows better than them that upon such moments are careers built.
It is perhaps ironic that the joint-longest T20I series of all ultimately boils down to a one-match shootout, but the journey that gets us there has been little short of exhilarating. Pakistan felt England owed a debt to the side after Pakistan's tour during the initial outbreak of Covid-19 was reciprocated with a snub the following year.
But since England arrived in Pakistan, there has been a deluge of goodwill from both sides, with friendships forged off the field and skills fine-tuned on it. Packed houses have greeted the teams at all six games, and even the presidential-level security that flanks England appears not to have dampened their enjoyment of the tour.
It is also perhaps appropriate that during a series that bore criticism for failing to prepare conditions that would imitate the surfaces the two sides will encounter at the T20 World Cup in Australia, it at least finishes with a do-or-die game.

Form guide

Pakistan LWWLW (last five completed T20Is, most recent first)
England WLLWL

In the spotlight

Haris Rauf has become a true all-phase bowler for Pakistan. In the previous match where he was rested, Pakistan missed him dearly in the first two phases, and if England had allowed the game to extend to a third phase, Pakistan would almost certainly have missed him then. The heroic role Rauf played in Pakistan's win in the fourth game, which bowling coach Shaun Tait referred to somewhat tetchily in defence of his side's death bowling, won't be forgotten by either side in a hurry. Slotting back into the team, as he is almost certain to, he should provide Pakistan's bowling with the shot in the arm they need following their dismantling on Friday.
Pakistan were not the only one to rest their express pace bowler on Friday. Mark Wood's return from injury and into the England side has been managed competently, and though he has played just two of the first six matches, he has been a central figure in this series. Wood's average pace was higher across those games than any bowler from either side could manage, and against a top order that has often proven impregnable, Wood has more powerplay wickets in just three overs than any of his team-mates. Rauf vs Wood is a mini-contest in itself, one likely to be as fiercely contested as the one between the two sides.

Team news

Haider Ali was hospitalised after the last game so is unlikely to feature on Sunday. His absence should make way for Khushdil Shah. Mohammad Rizwan and Rauf are both expected to return, likely as straight swaps for Mohammad Haris and Shahnawaz Dahani.
Pakistan (probable): 1 Babar Azam (capt), 2 Mohammad Rizwan (wk), 3 Shan Masood, 4 Iftikhar Ahmed, 5 Khushdil Shah, 6 Asif Ali, 7 Mohammad Nawaz, 8 Shadab Khan, 9 Mohammad Hasnain/Aamer Jamal, 10 Mohammad Wasim, 11 Haris Rauf
Neither side trained on Saturday but with the series on the line, England are likely to field their strongest available side, with Chris Woakes and Mark Wood both in the frame to return. Jos Buttler appears unlikely to play despite making good progress in his rehabilitation from a calf injury and Moeen Ali will continue as captain in his absence.
England (probable): 1 Phil Salt (wk), 2 Alex Hales, 3 Dawid Malan, 4 Ben Duckett, 5 Harry Brook, 6 Moeen Ali (capt), 7 Sam Curran, 8 Chris Woakes, 9 Adil Rashid, 10 Mark Wood, 11 Reece Topley

Pitch and conditions

Conditions are once more likely to be hot and humid. The decider is likely to be played on a used pitch at Gaddafi Stadium and has been sold out for weeks.

Stats and trivia

  • David Willey is two wickets shy of becoming the first left-arm England bowler to take 50 T20I wickets, while Rashid needs four more to overtake Chris Jordan as England's all-time leading wicket-taker in the format.
  • Two more wickets for Shadab Khan will make him the second-highest T20I wicket-taker for Pakistan, taking him past Umar Gul and Saeed Ajmal, and behind only Shahid Afridi's 97.
  • Pakistan have never won a multi-game T20I series against England.

Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000

Win Probability
ENG 100%
100%50%100%ENG InningsPAK Innings

Over 20 • PAK 142/8

Mohammad Wasim b Willey 5 (5b 1x4 0x6 8m) SR: 100
England won by 67 runs
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