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England v Pakistan: Hosts sign off for World Cup with seven-wicket win

After two washouts earlier in the series, England could have asked for little more in their final match before defending the T20 crown they won in Melbourne 18 months ago.

The reliability of their bowling attack, in terms of its quality and fitness, is the biggest question mark going into the World Cup but at The Oval they were superb.

Wood, who has been nursing a knee niggle, hit 95mph with his second delivery and Archer was not much slower. Their opening spell hinted at the mouth-watering prospect of what could be to come.

Chasing a target well below par, Phil Salt and Jos Buttler made a rampant start and hit a six apiece in taking 25 from Naseem Shah’s second over.

Wicketkeeper Azam Khan dropped Salt on 34 and later Will Jacks, who made 20 before being bowled by a fierce Haris Rauf yorker, on eight in a messy Pakistan performance.

Salt, the hard-hitting early aggressor, picked out deep mid-wicket and Buttler, who was in enterprising form, was caught behind, but that only gave England’s middle order much-needed time at the crease.

Bairstow planted Shadab Khan for back-to-back straight sixes and Harry Brook won the match by clearing the ropes to finish 17 not out.

England made a dismal defence of their 50-over World Cup title last year. This performance should give them confidence of making a better fist of retaining the T20 edition.

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Written by Joseph

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