Jofra Archer took another step towards making himself at home in the England line-up while captain Eoin Morgan steered his side in typically cool fashion to a seven-wicket win over Pakistan in their T20I in Cardiff.
Having made his long-awaited ODI debut against Ireland on Friday, Archer was playing his first T20I and did not disappoint, claiming 2 for 29 off his four overs to be the pick of the England bowlers as well as completing a sharp run-out as the hosts restricted No. 1-ranked Pakistan to 173 for 6.
Morgan scored an unbeaten half-century and was well supported by Joe Root and a neat cameo from Joe Denly in taking England past the target with four balls to spare.
Ben Duckett also made his T20I debut, opening alongside James Vince, the pair added to the England squad in the wake of Alex Hales’ axing.
Duckett got his chance after Dawid Malan injured his groin while batting against Ireland but, after a bright start, he was dismissed for just 9, smacking Shaheen Afridi to Imad Wasim at mid-off.
Vince looked nonplussed when he was given out, caught behind off Imad, having added a fluent 36 off 27 balls.
He called for a review and, while Ultra Edge showed a small amount of noise, it was nigh on impossible to determine whether it came from the bat brushing the ball or the ground and the decision was upheld.
With England 66 for 2, Root and Morgan found some scintillating white-ball touch, having managed scores of just 7 and 0 respectively against Ireland.
By the time Root was caught behind for 47 off 42 balls, trying to ramp Hasan Ali, England were neck-and-neck with Pakistan, needing 43 off 27.
Morgan held course and shared a 44-run partnership off 24 balls with Denly, to guide his side home, having scored 57 off 29 balls.
With England needing five runs off the last five deliveries, Morgan smashed a six to seal the result Earlier, after Pakistan chose to bat, Tom Curran struck in his first over, dismissing Fakhar Zaman to a superb one-handed catch from Morgan, who leapt high at cover to pluck the ball from the air.
David Willey avoided what could have been a serious mishap on the next ball when he put his foot through the cover of an underground storage box as he was running in to bowl. Fortunately he was not hurt and a replacement cover was found.
Archer entered the attack in the fifth over with devastating effect, a sharp bouncer catching debutant Imam-ul-Haq by surprise and hitting the glove on the way through to wicket-keeper Ben Foakes, also winning his first cap in T20Is.
After a shaky start in which Pakistan fell to 31 for 2, Babar Azam and Haris Sohail provided just what their side needed, combining for a 103-run partnership to put a par score within sight.
Archer had other ideas, however, accounting for both in a pivotal over. Having reached his half-century off 36 balls, Haris lofted Archer high towards deep mid-wicket where Willey was waiting to take a comfortable catch.
Two balls later, Archer gathered off his own bowling to run out Babar.
Having hit the ball on to his pad from where it dribbled into the on side, Babar called for a run only to see Archer deviate from his follow-through, collect the ball and turn to throw down the stumps at the non-striker’s end with the batsman trying in vain to make his ground.
With England having taken their momentum back, Chris Jordan pounced.
Jordan juggled what would have been a wonderful caught-and-bowled off Imad Wasim that popped out of his hand as he leapt high, but he turned and gathered off the ground to find Asif Ali backing up well out of his crease and hit the stumps directly.
Jordan’s last over was a mixed bag containing the wicket of Faheem Ashraf, out to a regulation catch by Denly at deep cover but going for 16 runs as Pakistan closed on a better total than their start had indicated.
Fakhar Zaman c Morgan b Curran 7
Babar Azam run out 65
Imam-ul-Haq c Foakes b Archer 7
Haris Sohail c Willey b Archer 50
Asif Ali run out 3
Imad Wasim not out 18
Faheem Ashraf c Denly b Jordan 17
Hasan Ali not out 0
EXTRAS: (lb3, w3) 6
TOTAL: (6 wkts; 20 overs) 173
FOW: 1-16, 2-31, 3-134, 4-135, 5-139, 6-165
BOWLING: D Willey 3-0-25-0, T Curran 4-0-28-1, J Archer 4-0-29-2, C Jordan 4-0-41-1, A Rashid 4-0-32-0, J Denly 1-0-15-0
J Vince c Sarfaraz b Imad 36
B Duckett c Imad b Shaheen 9
J Root c Sarfaraz b Hasan 47
E Morgan not out 57
J Denly not out 20
EXTRAS: (lb2, nb1, w3) 6
TOTAL: (3 wkts; 19.2 overs) 175
FOW: 1-21, 2-66, 3-131
BOWLING: Imad Wasim 4-0-24-1, Faheem Ashraf 3.2-0-43-0, Shaheen Afridi 4-0-35-1, M Hasnain 4-0-29-0, Hasan Ali 4-0-42-1
UMPIRES: Michael Gough, Alex Wharf
TV UMPIRE: Tim Robinson