BIRMINGHAM: Babar Azam led from the front as Pakistan beat England by 31 points in the first international Twenty20 at Trent Bridge on Friday despite a hundred blisters from Liam Livingstone.
Pakistan captain Azam made 85 and shared an opening stand of 150 with Mohammad Rizwan in a national T20 record total of 232-6.
But Livingstone gave the hosts hope with a century of 42 balls, England’s fastest in a T20 national team and fifth fastest of all time, hitting six fours and nine sixes on the way for triple figures.
Yet that wasn’t enough to stop Pakistan from going 1-0 in this three-game streak, with England winning 201 after Shaheen Shah Afridi and Shadab Khan each took three wickets.
This was Pakistan’s first win of the 2021 tour after a 3-0 defeat in an international one-day streak.
Azam, returning from a superb 100 in the third ODI in Edgbaston on Tuesday, faced just 49 balls as he and Rizwan suffered an experimental attack on England.
The skipper was in typically elegant form as he pulled eight fours and three sixes before being caught behind David Willey.
England soon found themselves 69-3 on a frantic start to their chase with fast-paced pitcher Afridi taking a brilliant caught and pitched to push back Dawid Malan on his way to 3-30.
Jason Roy’s quick fifties kept England on the hunt before Livingstone, trying to establish himself in the English set-up, found his range with six straight off leg-spinner Shadab Khan.
Livingstone only needed 17 balls for his fifty before Khan responded by firing Roy.
England captain Eoin Morgan fell cheap to leave the hosts in search of Livingstone.
The Lancashire handyman went to his hundred in style with a six before Khan caught him deep inside.
England’s queue now had too much to do and Afridi ended the match when he threw Matt Parkinson with four balls left in play.
The series continues in Headingley on Sunday.