Alex Hales and Luke Wood star England win their first match in Pakistan in 17 years


Lancashire left-arm seamer Luke Wood took 3-24 on his international debut
First T20, Karachi
Pakistan 158-7 (20 overs): Rizwan 68 (46), Babar 31 (24); L Wood 3-24, Rashid 2-27
England 160-4 (19.2 overs): Hales 53 (40), Brook 42 (25); Qadir 2-36
England won by six wickets
Scorecard

Returning Alex Hales hit 53 and debutant Luke Wood took 3-24 as England beat Pakistan in a six-series Twenty20 in their first match in the country for 17 years.

Chasing 159 to win his first T20I, Hales hit seven fours in a controlled and mature knock in his first England appearance since 2019. He was dropped from the World Cup squad for off-field issues.

His fifty gave England a platform for victory as Harry Brook made a 25-ball 45 in his fifth T20 with four balls to spare to guide the tourists home.

Earlier Pakistan made 158-7 with Mohammad Rizwan hitting 68 off 46 balls while opening partner and captain Babar Azam scored 31 and 24.

Wood was supported by Adil Rashid, who took 2-27, including the key wicket of Babar, with a superb googly to end an 85-run opening stand.

The match was England’s first in the country for 6,118 days since a Test and one-day international tour in December 2005.

Neither country toured Pakistan between 2009 and 2015 after a gunman attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in 2009, and the sides have returned sporadically since then.

England were due to tour last winter but pulled out after the New Zealand men’s tour of Pakistan was called off due to a security threat.

The second match of the seven-match series, which complements the T20 World Cup in Australia in October and November, takes place on Thursday at 3.30pm BST.

The wood is stunned in its debut

Luke Wood's bowling: 38% full, 54% good length and 8% short.  They scored 4 overs, 0 maidens, 24 runs, took 3 wickets with an economy of 6.00.

England touring Pakistan is significant. The tourists are a powerhouse in cricket and, apart from India, they are the nation the hosts would most like to return to.

The players walked out into a boisterous crowd after a minute’s silence for Pakistan’s flood victims and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, many using their phone flashlights to create an amphitheater of light.

Pushing the hosts on, Rizwan and Babar attacked England from the start and were 85-0 after 9.2 overs before Rashid dismissed the latter.

From that moment on England fought back, able to apply pressure with tight lines and a faultless pitch.

Wood, 27, has been successful in The Hundred for Trent Rockets, with his performances in the competition hastening his progress after impressive T20 Blast campaigns for Lancashire, and on that evidence he will have no problem establishing himself on the international stage.

His first wicket brought Mohammad Nawaz’s stumps down the ground before Iftikhar Ahmed and Naseem Shah caught him in the deep off the last three balls, his changes of pace and length proving effective.

England have doubts over Chris Woakes (knee), Mark Wood (elbow) and Chris Jordan (finger), all three of whom have been named in the 15-man World Cup squad, while others, such as Wood, are not. in that group – know that they have a chance to impress.

Stand-in captain Moeen Ali (1-23) impressed Rizwani and Sam Curran took 1-30, but fellow left-arm seamer David Willey struggled, picking up 41 from his four overs.

More to follow