England 247 (Salt 60, Vince 56, Hasan 5-51) vs Pakistan
England have wrapped up the Royal London ODI series against Pakistan with a game to spare following a 52-run victory over Pakistan at Lord's.
Despite being without their first-choice squad, despite being put into bat in conditions which Ben Stokes described as "lovely to bowl in" and despite subsiding to 160 for 7 with 20 overs of their innings remaining, England won this game with something to spare. Having won the first match ODI in Cardiff by nine wickets, it means they go into the final game at Edgbaston on Tuesday with an unassailable 2-0 lead.
It bears repetition that this is a highly proficient Pakistan side. Going into this series they had lost just one of their most recent 12 completed ODIs and, had they won this game convincingly, they could have risen to second place in the World Cup Super League. To beat them at any time is an achievement; to beat them without the use of at least 20 of your best players is another demonstration of England's current depth in limited-overs resources.
The defining passage of play probably came late in England's innings. When Lewis Gregory and Brydon Carse came together, England had just lost three wickets for four runs and were precariously placed at 160 for 7. At that stage, a total of 200 looked unlikely.
But the pair added 69 in 77 balls - a record eighth-wicket partnership at Lord's in ODI cricket - to drag England to what proved to be a competitive total on a Lord's surface offering assistance to both seam and spin bowlers. While any highlights package might focus on Gregory's boundaries - one of them, driven through the covers on the up off Hasan Ali would have pleased any batter - the pair also ran impressively, putting pressure on the Pakistan fielders.
While England were still bowled out with 10 deliveries unused - rain which delayed the start of the match by 90 minutes also reduced this to a 47-overs a side affair - their final total (247) was slightly better than that set in the first innings of the most recent ODI played on this ground: the 2019 World Cup final when New Zealand managed 241 for 8. And, as we know, that proved highly competitive.
Modest though England's total may look, it should probably have been far fewer. With both Dawid Malan, drawn into flashing at one angled across him, and Zak Crawley, late on a yorker, falling for ducks, England were 21 for 2 at the start of their innings with Hasan and Shaheen Shah Afridi threatening. But Pakistan's support bowlers were unable to sustain the pressure, squandering the help in the surface by bowling too wide and too short.
At one stage, with Faheem Ashraf conceding four boundaries in an over - and three in succession - to Phil Salt, England plundered seven fours in 11 deliveries. In partnership with James Vince, Salt added 97 for England's third wicket helping them bring up the 100 in just 13.1 overs. It was the fastest any side had reached 100 in an ODI at Lord's since India did so in 13.1 overs in 2002. On a pitch on which run-scoring proved difficult, the 99 runs conceded from the 15 overs from Faheem and Haris Rauf was a key difference between the sides.
For while England's opening bowlers also made inroads - Saqib Mahmood again proving dangerous and defeating Babar Azam with one that seamed in and Mohammad Rizwan with one that seamed away - they won far better support from their colleagues. Craig Overton earned the wicket of Fakhar Zaman by allowing him to scored two from the 14 balls he bowled at him and finally nipping one back through the gate, while Carse bowled with impressive pace.
England's batters also deserve credit, though. For while there was a time when, confronted with such conditions, a batting side might be expected to react with caution, those days have gone. Certainly when England are batting. Instead Salt threw his hands at almost everything he received. And if there was some rust amid the diamonds - a dropped chance here; an inside edge that whistled past the stumps there - the aggression of the approach appeared to wrong-foot Pakistan's support bowlers, in particular.
Perhaps the highest-class batting of the day came from Vince. While he, too, was aggressive, he looked just a little more controlled when coming down the wicket to drive the seamers through the covers or latching on to the resultant short ball with powerful pull strokes. Salt's maiden ODI fifty took 41 balls; Vince's second in ODIs took just 36 balls.
While Stokes, presented with a cap to commemorate his 100th ODI cap by Ashley Giles ahead of the game, flourished briefly, his attempt to dance down the wicket and thrash Hasan into the stand resulted in a lost off stump. With Hasan then angling one past the defence of John Simpson and Overton edging an intermediate prod, the bowler had taken three wickets in nine legitimate balls without conceding a run off the bat. His final figures - 5 for 51 - were the best by a Pakistan bowler in an ODI at Lord's. For a man playing just his third ODI since the World Cup due to injury, it also represented a terrific comeback.
At that stage, it looked as if Pakistan would keep England below 200. But Gregory and Carse gave their side some hope. And when Gregory followed up with the early wicket of Imam-ul-Haq at the start of the reply, the value of their partnership was put in perspective.
There were encouraging moments for Pakistan. Saud Shakeel, in just his second ODI, looked composed and capable in making a maiden half-century while Hasan took 22 from four balls (a four and then three successive sixes) from Matt Parkinson.
But by the time Simpson, anticipating Faheem's sweep and slipping down the leg-side, held on to a superb catch off the face of the bat, it was clear it was to be England's day. Some of these England players may not appear in a lot more international cricket - there's no way the likes of Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow and Chris Woakes get left out of a first-choice side - they will have warm memories of the day they won England a series in front of a full house at Lord's.