In a dominating performance that England would have hoped had come in the earlier games, they 2019 champions batted first after winning the toss and put up 337/9 on the board as Ben Stokes (84 off 76), Joe Root (60 off 72) and Jonny Bairstow (59 off 61) made significant contributions. David Willey then signed off from international cricket on a high, registering figures of 3/44 and also completing 100 ODI scalps as Pakistan were bowled out for 244 in 43.3 overs.
England got off to a great start with the bat as their openers added 82 in 13.3 overs. The partnership was broken when Dawid Malan (31) was brilliantly caught by Mohammad Rizwan off Iftikhar Ahmed’s bowling as he top-edged a reverse sweep.
Bairstow and Root took England past the 100-run mark before the former smacked Haris Rauf (3/64) straight to cover. Bairstow hit seven fours and a six in his impressive knock. Senior men Root and Stokes then featured 132-run stand for the third wicket. While Root batted steadily and hit only four fours, Stokes was more adventurous, smacking 11 fours and two sixes.
The fine stand ended when Shaheen Afridi (2/72) denied Stokes a hundred with a reverse-swinging yorker. Root was then done in by a slower ball from the Pakistan left-arm pacer. Harry Brook scored a swift 30 off 17 but perished in his effort to go after Rauf. England skipper Jos Buttler (27 off 18) finally seemed to be finding some form, but a direct him to run him out was an apt symbolism of his lack of luck in the tournament.
Chasing 338, Pakistan got off to a horror start, as the retiring Willey dismissed both the openers cheaply. Abdullah Shafique was trapped lbw for a duck, while Fakhar Zaman perished for 1, trying to hit the left-armer over the infield. Skipper Babar Azam (38) and Mohammad Rizwan (36) both got starts, but could not carry on.
Agha Salman (51) was the only batter to cross the half-century mark in Pakistan’s innings before he became Willey 100th ODI scalp. Afridi (25) and Rauf (35) had some fun at the end, but Pakistan fell way short. While Willey finished with three wickets in his farewell ODI, Adil Rashid, Gus Atkinson and Moeen Ali claimed two wickets each.
--By A Cricket Correspondent