KARACHI: Stand-in England captain Moeen Ali believes his over, which he admitted was a "gamble", played a pivotal role in his side losing to Pakistan by 10 wickets in the second T20I at the National Stadium.
In defence of 199/5, Ali, who had hit an unbeaten 55 with the bat, brought himself on for the 13th over and leaked 21 runs, including three sixes. Eventually, Pakistan captain Babar Azam struck an amazing 110 off 66 balls, and wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan hit 88 off 51 deliveries to chase down the total with all wickets intact and three balls remaining.
"The momentum changed when I bowled my over. That really gave them the belief and after that they were almost unstoppable. I felt like it was under control for most of it. I genuinely feel my over lost the game for us. That was a gamble on my part. I went to try and get a wicket, almost buy a wicket. Obviously it didn't work and that's when Pakistan really won the game," said Ali after the match ended.
Apart from lack of penetration in England's bowling attack unable to separate Babar-Rizwan pair, their catching also came under the scanner. Alex Hales dropped Rizwan at mid-off when the right-hander was on 23, which would ultimately prove to be very costly for England.
"I thought it was a very good score actually. It was a really good wicket in the end. I thought it would do a little bit more second innings. I thought we bowled ok for the first 10 overs, but we dropped a big catch obviously. You can't afford to drop them and you can't afford to bowl an off-spinner to them at such a big time," added Ali.
Ali went on to praise the Babar-Rizwan pair for coming out all guns blazing to share an unbeaten 203-run stand. Both Babar and Rizwan had to face criticism over their slow batting approach in Asia Cup 2022 and low strike-rates. But Thursday's match at Karachi saw them turn the tables in spectacular fashion.
"They played really, really well (in the match). I know they get a lot of stick for their strike-rates but I believe their strike-rates are very good anyway and they are brilliant players. Sometimes media outlets pressure players even when they're doing well. They were brilliant and (Thursday), it was their day."
Senior England leg-spinner Adil Rashid, who went wicketless while giving 34 runs in his three overs, also heaped praise on the scintillating show by Babar and Rizwan. "I thought we did tremendously well to get 199. As the game went on the wicket did get better but I thought they played top draw to get to that total. At the halfway stage we were very happy."
"All credit goes to the opening players. I thought they played tremendously well. They played good cricket shots and they got a massive partnership, but that can happen. They played very, very well."