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Twenty20: Pakistan v England third T20I preview

England's seven-match Twenty20 series in Pakistan is level at 1-1 going into Friday's third T20 after the hosts' brilliant batting display in game two.

Pakistan chased down a target of 200 without losing a wicket in Karachi on Thursday and England will be desperate to prise out openers Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan early in the innings at the National Stadium.

Pakistan's record-breaking openers scale new peak


Pakistan v England, 3rd Twenty20 Match


National Stadium, Karachi, Pakistan


15:30, Friday 23rd September 2022

How to watch:

Sky Sports Cricket & Main Event

Odds:Pakistan 8/11, England 11/10

Pakistan captain Babar made only 68 runs in six innings at the Asia Cup earlier this month and he kicked off the marathon T20 series against England with a pedestrian 31 off 24 balls.

Concerns over Babar's slow scoring rate at the top of the order were dispelled by a stunning innings in Thursday's second game as he blasted an unbeaten 110 from 66 deliveries to lead his side to a record-breaking 10-wicket win.

The previous highest T20 target successfully chased without losing a wicket was 184 by Kolkata Knight Riders against Gujarat Lions in 2017 but Babar and opening partner Rizwan shared an unbroken stand of 203, having also put on 85 in the first T20.

The pair understandably dominate Pakistan's top-batter market for the third T20 with Babar 9/4 and Rizwan 5/2.

The hosts are 8/11 to post a higher opening stand than 11/10 England, whose top two Phil Salt and Alex Hales have had partnerships of 19 and 42 in the first two matches.

There was no fluke about Babar and Rizwan's mammoth effort in the second T20. It was the fifth time they had put on 150 or more in T20 internationals and they broke their own highest-partnership record of 197, achieved against South Africa last year.

England left-handers have right approach in Karachi

England, who won the first T20 by six wickets, should have been feeling fairly confident at the halfway point of the second match on Thursday.

A scratchy start left them on 66-2 after nine overs but they went at 12 runs per over for the rest of the innings thanks largely to some top-class batting from left-handers Ben Duckett and Moeen Ali.

Duckett swept and reverse-swept to great effect, making 43 off just 22 balls, while Moeen, captaining the side at the start of the tour until Jos Buttler returns to action in Lahore, hit four sixes in a blistering unbeaten 55 off 23.

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Moeen has played some cracking innings in T20 cricket this year, hitting seven sixes in a 28-ball 63 against the West Indies in Bridgetown in January and slamming a 16-ball half-century against South Africa in Bristol in July.

In-play punters should consider getting long of England's runs when the stand-in skipper comes to the wicket although the impressive Duckett, who made 21 in the first T20 and has experience of these conditions from his spells in the Pakistan Super League, is a decent bet at 9/2 to be top batter.

Tourists may look to Topley to sharpen up pace attack

Moeen enjoyed himself with the bat on Thursday but his one over of off-spin cost 21 runs as Pakistan's well-set batsmen started to put their foot down in the chase.

England's frontline spinners Liam Dawson and Adil Rashid looked the most likely bowlers to take a wicket. Hales dropped a steepling catch after Rizwan miscued an aggressive shot off Dawson early on and wicketkeeper Salt missed a tough stumping chance off Rashid in the seventh over.

Luke Wood, player of the match on his international debut on Tuesday, conceded 49 runs in four wicketless overs and his fellow left-armer David Willey has figures of 0-85 off 7.3 overs in the series.

It will be interesting to see whether yet another of England's left-arm quicks, Reece Topley, is unleashed in the third T20.

The Surrey man missed the first two games due to a minor ankle problem and England will not want to gamble with his fitness ahead of next month's T20 World Cup in Australia.

Uncapped fast bowlers Olly Stone and Tom Helm are options for game three but Topley's pace and bounce would undoubtedly add some bite to the tourists' seam attack.

He had a wonderful white-ball summer in England, taking nine wickets in three ODIs against India and claiming 3-22 in a man-of-the-match performance against them in a T20 international at Trent Bridge.

Topley is 13/8 to take over 1.5 wickets and 11/4 to be England's top bowler in the third T20 and in his only previous Twenty20 appearance against Pakistan, back in November 2015, he picked up 3-24 in Dubai.

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