Jo Buttler hits half-century as England set Pakistan 201 to win T20 series

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Jos Buttler top-scored with 59 as England were bowled out for exactly 200 in the second Twenty20 against Pakistan at Headingley.

Buttler was passed fit after a calf injury and assumed the captaincy as Eoin Morgan opted to rest himself in the interests of squad rotation. He hit seven fours and two sixes to get things going at the top of the order, but Pakistan collected regular wickets to stall the momentum.

Moeen Ali (36) and man-of-the-moment Liam Livingstone (38) both produced entertaining knocks as the hosts battled for a winning score in this must-win match.

The first over of the day pitched Imad Wasim and Jason Roy into combat, a recipe for a breakneck start containing a huge swipe for six, a boundary to follow and moments later a spiralling catch to short third man.

Imad capitalised on that breakthrough by picking up Dawid Malan for one on the sweep, leaving England with work to do at 18 for two. Buttler and Moeen warmed instantly to the task, blasting 19 apiece off the fifth and sixth overs.

Buttler scooped Mohammad Hasnain over his shoulder for an outrageous six, before pinging a pair of more traditional strokes between third man and cover. Not to be outdone, Moeen swung hard at Haris Rauf, picking the gaps expertly to pocket four boundaries in the blink of an eye.

A total of 66 for two represented a strong recovery and Moeen kept the crowd catchers in business with a huge smear off Shadab Khan. He eventually fell for 36 off just 16 balls, popping Hasnain to mid-off, but Buttler’s consistent scoring and the arrival of Livingstone kept the tempo red hot.

Fresh from scoring England’s fastest ever century, Livingstone clubbed his fourth delivery for six before he and Buttler took turns heaving Imad into the stands in the 13th over. With the ball disappearing, Pakistan needed wickets to halt the march and Hasnain grabbed a key one when Buttler picked out Babar Azam at mid-off.

Jonny Bairstow came and went cheaply on his home ground and Livingstone was messily run out a a few seconds after managing the biggest hit of day, launching Rauf clean over the newly developed Football Stand.

The lower order managed another 35 off the last four overs, but lost Tom Curran, Adil Rashid, Chris Jordan and Matt Parkinson to the cause as Rauf and Shaheen Shah Afridi closed things out at the death.

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