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England recover from early wobble to thrash Pakistan in opening T20 | Women’s cricket


England’s international summer began with a shaky start but ended in victory as they recovered from 11 for four to beat Pakistan by 53 runs in the first T20 at Edgbaston.

Amy Jones enjoyed a memorable 100th T20 outing for England, reaching 37 off 27 balls and showing why she remains the best wicket-keeper in the world by taking four catches, including a fantastic reaction catch, diving to her left to grab edge of Gull Feroza .

Along the way, she collected her 75th dismissal in T20 Internationals, overtaking England’s previous record of 74 held by Sarah Taylor.

England were also boosted by a career-best 41 not out from Danielle Gibson, who added 44 off the last 25 balls along with Sophie Ecclestone to take England to a match-winning total of 163 for six.

Heather Knight was at the heart of England’s initial collapse, the captain watching from the no-striker side during the miscommunication that led to Freya Kemp being run out for a duck, but kept her cool to reach 49 from 44 balls – her highest value T20i score on home ground.

In reply, Pakistan raced to 50 for one in the opening five overs, with Gibson penalized for 21 runs from one over by 25-year-old Sadaf Shammas, who slotted effortlessly through England’s gaps.

But Shamas was dismissed on 35 by her own captain, Nida Dar, who forced a misjudged single after hitting the ball straight to Alice Capsey at mid-wicket. A shaken Darr tried to sweep Sarah Glenn in the next over, but Maya Bouchier took a brilliant catch, sprinting from deep midwicket.

Pakistan, after winning both powerplays and reaching 77 for three at the halfway mark, eventually collapsed to 110 all out despite a 21-run stand between Fatima Sana and Sadia Iqbal for the 10th wicket. Glenn finished with four for 12, the best figures by an England player.

“To be honest, the scoreboard flatters us,” Knight said. “We did some good things today, but we were probably a little off the pace.”

John Lewis had said he planned to use artificial intelligence to help select his starting 11, but there was no sign of intelligence when the game got underway – artificial or otherwise.

Bouchier, Danni Wyatt and Capsey sent crisp catches down the ground which the jubilant Pakistan fielders easily latched on to. Kemp was then sacrificed at the altar of a reckless run out, hitting the ground and attacking the pitch, only to be sent back by her captain as Waheeda Akhtar, the bowler, took the ball out and bowled the stumps.

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“It was desperation to get going, a big crowd and trying to get in the game,” Knight said. “We want our players to be aggressive, at the right time.”

Kemp’s dismissal meant that England had lost three wickets without a breakthrough in six balls. Nerves were further strained by the knowledge that the hosts would not be able to rely on the solidity of Nat Siver-Brunt, who was ruled out of the game after undergoing a minor medical procedure.

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However, Knight and Jones kept their heads down and took advantage of the pitch’s poor pitch, putting on a partnership of 67 off 59 balls that defied a chaotic start.

Knight was adjudged lbw to Dar in the 12th over but DRS showed she was bowled outside the line. Jones was caught in the deep in the following over while Knight eventually got away to mid-on for a half-century, but Gibson and Ecclestone took up the mantle and England finished big.

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