In Depth

Brilliant Bairstow batters Pakistan: England justify World Cup favourites tag

Batsman hits a sensational ton as England complete run chase in third ODI

England vs. Pakistan
  • Third one-day international, Bristol 
  • Pakistan innings: 358-9 from 50 overs 
  • England innings: 359-4 from 44.5 overs 
  • England won by six wickets

England underlined their status as favourites for the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup with a sensational victory over Pakistan in the third one-day international (ODI) in Bristol.

The six-wicket win means that the home side now lead the tourists 2-0 in the five-match series and they can clinch the rubber at Trent Bridge on Friday.

Given the blistering form they are in it would be a brave person to bet against England in the World Cup on home soil.

Pakistan looked in fine form themselves in compiling their daunting total of 358-9 in 50 overs with Imam-ul-Haq scoring an impressive 151.

England came out to bat knowing that only once had they chased down such a mammoth total - and never at home. But they cruised to victory reaching 359-4 with five overs to spare. 

Remarkably, they did it without star batsman Jos Buttler, who was rested after scoring a scorching ton in the match at Southampton on Saturday.

Barnstorming Bairstow

But such is England’s strength in depth that Buttler’s absence was barely noticed as Jonny Bairstow smashed a scintillating century in what was the joint fifth-highest successful chase in ODI history.

The Yorkshireman took 93 balls to compile 128, and he was well supported by Jason Roy’s quickfire 76, Moeen Ali’s 46 and Joe Root’s 43.

“To knock 360 off with five overs left is pleasing for us as a group,” said Bairstow. “It’s a huge thing for me to do it in a high-scoring game when you’ve got to get off to a good start.”

High standards

Nonetheless, despite his match-winning contribution, Bairstow was furious with himself when he played on to Junaid Khan.

“I was cross because you want to see that through,” explained Bairstow. “You want to be going on and getting 160 or 170, and potentially 200 and seeing your team through.

“That’s where we’re at as a group of players at the moment, having competition to go and get the 150s and 160s and beyond.”

Good place

England announce their 15-man squad for the Cricket World Cup next week and with so many players in the form of their lives there will be one or two disappointed men who fail to make the cut.

Nonetheless, said Bairstow, it bodes well for the squad as they prepare for their opening game of the tournament against South Africa at the Oval on 30 May.

“We are backing ourselves and competition is healthy all the way through,” he said. “That’s a good place to be.”

England vs. South Africa is the opening match of the World Cup on 30 May. The final will be held on 14 July at Lord’s.

Reaction to England’s awesome run chase

Michael Vaughan, former England captain on BBC Test Match Special: “How do you set a target against this England team? What is safe? I don’t think anything will be.”

Phil Tufnell, former England spinner: “This England batting line up whoever plays is seriously dangerous awesome.”

Steve James, former England batsman, writing in The Times: “Their pursuit of Pakistan’s 358 for nine was so powerful and so emphatic that it will have sent shivers all around the cricketing world.”

England cricket fixtures

  • 17 May: ODI vs. Pakistan (Trent Bridge, 1pm start) 
  • 19 May ODI vs. Pakistan (Headingley, 11am) 
  • 30 May: World Cup vs. South Africa (Oval, 10.30am) 
  • 3 June: World Cup vs. Pakistan (Trent Bridge, 10.30am) 
  • 8 June: World Cup vs. Bangladesh (Sophia Gardens, 10.30am) 
  • 14 June: World Cup vs. West Indies (Ageas Bowl, 10.30am) 
  • 18 June: World Cup vs. Afghanistan (Old Trafford, 10.30am) 
  • 21 June: World Cup vs. Sri Lanka (Headingley, 10.30am) 
  • 25 June: World Cup vs. Australia (Lord’s, 10.30am) 
  • 30 June: World Cup vs. India (Edgbaston, 10.30am) 
  • 3 July: World Cup vs. New Zealand (Riverside, 10.30am)

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