England beat Pakistan in final T20

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DNA

Pakistan suffered a humiliating defeat in the final T20 on Friday as England chased the 157-run target in the rain-hit series, dealing a fresh blow to the team’s prospects in the T20 World Cup starting next week.

English skipper Jos Butler opted to bowl first after winning the toss under grey clouds which promised plenty of movement for the hosts’ quick bowlers.

Mark Wood hit 154 kph (96 mph) in his opening spell while Jofra Archer showed pace as he continues his return to England duty, though Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam propelled Pakistan to 59-0.

But Babar (36) fell off the final ball of the powerplay and Rizwan (23) was out in the following over as the visitors slumped to 86-5, with spinner Adil Rashid (2-27) exerting control.

Usman Khan (38), in the Pakistan side for the out-of-form Saim Ayub, showed some fight to bolster his World Cup chances as the visitors posted a below-par total of 157.

Phil Salt (45) and Buttler (39) broke the back of the chase, smashing 78 from the first six overs, both caught off the bowling of the impressive Haris Rauf (3-38).

Will Jacks (20) hit a huge six and was clean bowled by Rauf next ball, before Jonny Bairstow (28 not out) and Harry Brook (17 not out) took England to a comfortable win, the latter finishing off the chase in the 16th over with a six.

Buttler said there was a “good feeling in the squad” ahead of England’s T20 World Cup title defence, which begins against Scotland in Bridgetown on Tuesday.

He and player of the match Rashid also hailed the exciting prospect of Wood and Archer, both of whom have suffered with injuries, bowling together.

Thursday’s contest was both sides’ final game before they depart on Friday for the United States and West Indies.

Pakistan, who get their World Cup campaign underway against the US in Dallas on June 6, “played good cricket in patches” against England, Babar told reporters.

“In the middle overs, we collapsed… that’s what we’re trying to improve,” he added. “In the middle overs we need to step up.”