Amy Jones helps England recover from wobble to beat Pakistan in opening T20

    England’s start to the international summer began with a wobble but ended with a win, as they recovered from 11 for four to defeat Pakistan by 53 runs in the opening T20 at Edgbaston. Amy Jones led the way in a memorable 100th T20 outing for England, sweeping her way to 37 from 27 balls and demonstrating why she remains the best wicketkeeper in the world, taking four catches including a fantastic reaction grab diving to her left to snatch the edge of Gull Feroza.

    Along the way, she racked up her 75th dismissal in T20 internationals, overtaking the previous England record – 74, held by Sarah Taylor. “She’s someone I looked up to massively and someone who’s inspired a lot of the keepers in England,” Jones said of Taylor. “There was a long period there when I wondered if I was ever going to get the gloves so it’s pretty cool [to break her record].”

    England were also bolstered by a career-best 41 not out from Danielle Gibson, who added 44 from the final 25 balls in conjunction with Sophie Ecclestone to take England to a match-winning total of 163 for six.

    Heather Knight had been at the heart of England’s initial collapse, looking on from the non-striker’s end during the miscommunication which led to Freya Kemp being run out for a duck. But the captain kept her cool to reach 49 from 44 balls – her highest T20I score on home soil.

    In reply, Pakistan raced to 50 for one in the opening five overs, with Gibson punished for 21 runs off one over by the 25-year-old Sadaf Shamas, who effortlessly pierced the gaps in the England infield. But Shamas was run out on 35 by her own captain, Nida Dar, who forced a far too risky single after hitting the ball straight to Alice Capsey at midwicket. A rattled Dar tried to slog-sweep Sarah Glenn in the next over, but Maia Bouchier took a brilliant catch sprinting in from deep midwicket to end her innings.

    Glenn finished with four for 12, the leg-spinner’s best figures in an England shirt, as Pakistan – despite winning both powerplays and reaching 77 for three at the halfway point – eventually collapsed to 110 all out.

    Sarah Glenn (second from right) accepts the congratulations of her teammates after taking a wicket against Pakistan. Photograph: Richard Sellers/PA

    Jon Lewis had said he planned to use AI to help select his starting XI, but there was little sign of intelligence as play got under way – artificial or otherwise. Bouchier, Danni Wyatt and Capsey sent up straight­forward catches down the ground which the gleeful Pakistan fielders easily clutched on to.

    Kemp was then sacrificed at the altar of a witless run-out, punching down the ground and haring down the pitch only to be sent back by her captain, as Waheeda Akhtar, the bowler, retrieved the ball and threw down the stumps.

    The Kemp run-out meant England had lost three wickets for no runs in six balls, but Knight said England would not “look too deeply into” the collapse. “It’s the first game of the summer,” she said. “We were probably a little off the pace. It was desperation to get going, a big crowd and trying to impose ourselves on the game. We want our players to be aggressive, just at the right time.”

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    Nerves were further frayed by the knowledge that the hosts would be unable to call on the solidity of Nat Sciver-Brunt, who sat out the match after undergoing a minor medical procedure. Knight and Jones, though, got their heads down and took advantage of some poor ground fielding, putting on a partnership of 67 from 59 balls which defied the chaotic start.

    Knight was adjudged lbw to Dar in the 12th over, but DRS showed she had been struck outside the line. Jones was caught in the deep in the following over, while Knight eventually holed out to mid-on one run short of a half-century. But Gibson and Ecclestone took up the mantle and England finished big.

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