England 131 for 6 (Banton 71, Imad 2-31) v Pakistan - Match abandoned
Tom Banton's maiden T20I half-century was the highlight of another soggy evening at Emirates Old Trafford, but the weather had the defining word as the opening match of the series against Pakistan was abandoned due to rain.
Banton, seizing his chance to impress as opening batsman in the absence of Jos Buttler and Jason Roy, made an increasingly fluent 71. But rain, surely the most consistent performer of what is laughingly passing for summer in England, intervened about 80 minutes into the match and, while it relented around 40 minutes before the final restart time, the umpires concluded conditions were unfit for a resumption.
Pakistan will surely feel the more aggrieved of the sides. After weathering Banton's storm, they had reduced England to 131 for 6 in the 17th over and would have been the more confident of the teams having made decent use of winning an important toss.
It would have been even better, however, had Iftikhar Ahmed been able to cling on to a relatively simple chance offered by Banton on 5. The batsman had fiddled at one angled across him from Shaheen Shah Afridi but Iftikhar, at slip, put down the chance.
It looked, for a while, as if it would be a costly miss. For if Banton took a little while to adjust to a surface which had been under cover for much of the day due to rain - his first 20 runs occupied 19 deliveries - he soon found his stride. At one point, the 21-year-old thrashed 38 from 13 balls, demonstrating a powerful slog-sweep off the spinners and an audacious ability to scoop the seamers.
Shadab Khan bore the brunt of his assault. After conceding a slog-swept six to his first delivery, Khan bowled ever wider of off stump only to see Banton responding with ever more ferocious slog-sweeps. At one stage, he thrashed two successive sixes over midwicket and England plundered 58 in four overs.
But Banton's dismissal, top-edging another attempted heave across the line off the persevering Khan, precipitated a collapse from England. Four wickets fell for the addition of 14 runs in 19 deliveries as England lost their way against Pakistan's spinners.
Earlier Jonny Bairstow had fallen in the first over of the match, victim of a sharp return catch from Imad Wasim, before Dawid Malan ended up at the same end as Banton having set off for a sharp single in which his partner had no interest. In making just 34-1 from the first six overs, England registered their least productive powerplay since the World T20 final of 2016.
Eoin Morgan reverse-swept his first ball for four and thrashed his third for six but, when he missed a sweep, Moeen Ali edged an attempted cut and Lewis Gregory was stumped as he charged Imad, it meant England had lost four wickets in as many overs only two men had been able to reach 15.
Mohammad Rizwan impressed again in clinging on to the chance which dismissed Moeen, while the three spinners utilised by Pakistan combined to claim five wickets for the cost of 71 runs in nine overs.
Pakistan had sprung something of a surprise by not being able to find a place for Haider Ali in their side. Instead they included five spinning allrounders, including the veterans Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik, who made their debut in this format together in Pakistan's first T20I 14 years ago to the day against the same opposition.
England, meanwhile, preferred Gregory to David Willey in the allrounder's position. But it all came to nothing as the rain that ravaged the final two Tests between these sides returned to spoil this match, too.
Banton, at least, could feel he had advanced his cause. So tight is the competition for places at the top of the order, even Joe Root - who, but for a late miracle, might have been player of the match in the last World T20 final - is uncertain of a place.
But Banton, who has also won an opportunity to impress in the IPL as a member of the Kolkata Knight Riders squad, has ensured his name will be part of the conversation. He admits the role of opener is his preferred option.
"I find [batting in] the middle quite tricky as I've not done it really at all," he said. "So I'd like to open if possible. But the white-ball team, at full strength, is so good. I'll keep trying to put guys under pressure. I'm just trying to score as many runs as possible and make it difficult for the selectors not to pick me."
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo