Pakistan win high-scoring thriller despite Livingstone’s record ton
Liam Livingstone’s spectacular century was not enough to prevent England from being beaten by Pakistan in a riotous first Twenty20 at Trent Bridge.
With the hosts facing their highest T20 pursuit of all-time, Livingstone reached 50 from 17 balls and 100 from 42, both England records.
He went to three figures with his ninth sixth, but was out to the next ball, a crucial swing of momentum towards Pakistan.
The tourists had earlier racked up 232-6 – their highest total in a T20 – taking advantage of a superb pitch and short boundaries on a sun-kissed evening in Nottingham.
Captain Babar Azam struck 85 from 49 balls and Mohammad Rizwan 63 from 41.
England were ragged, dropping catches and too often missing the mark with the ball to concede their highest score for eight years.
Livingstone’s incredible knock kept England in it, but they were eventually bowled out for 201 in the last over to lose by 31 runs.
The second match in the series at Headingley on Sunday.
Livingstone headlines thrilling entertainment
This was a memorable contest, magnificent entertainment played in front of a raucous crowd of 17,000.
Whereas Pakistan were humbled 3-0 by a virtual third-string England side in the one-day internationals, they were energised by a change of format and boosted by the hosts’ poor performance with the ball.
As well as Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes, an entire first-choice attack of Jofra Archer, Mark Wood, Sam Curran, Chris Jordan and Adil Rashid were missing. In their absence, England were flayed.
And while the bowling understudies failed to impress, Livingstone, previously not a certainty for a place at the T20 World Cup in the autumn, showed he belongs among England’s embarrassment of batting riches.
His clean striking was simply astonishing, made all the more impressive by the fact England lost regular wickets around him.
Livingstone’s eventual dismissal, caught at long-on off the leg-spin of Shadhab Khan, was a hammer blow to the hosts.
On a night illuminated by wonderful batting, it was Pakistan’s superior bowling and fielding that proved the difference.
Brilliant Babar leads Pakistan runfest
England gifted away the chance to bat first and might wonder how different the outcome could have been had Dawid Malan held a low chance at a wide slip when Babar edged the first ball he faced, bowled by David Willey.
Reprieved, Babar played a majestic innings, full of wristy whips through the leg side.
Rizwan struggled at first, but gradually found fluency in a stand of 150 – the highest opening partnership ever posted against England in a T20.
The lack of early wickets severely hampered England’s cause and as the home bowlers struggled with their lengths, Pakistan’s batsmen queued up to despatch the ball into the stands.
The first six did not come until the second ball of the 12th over, but nine more were smashed after that as 152 runs were plundered in the final 10 overs. (BBC Sport)