Pakistan beat England by 14 runs at Trent Bridge on Monday as the World Cup’s first centuries from Joe Root and Jos Buttler were not enough to help the host overhaul a daunting target of 349.
England had put Pakistan in to bat, banking on fast bowlers Chris Woakes and Jofra Archer for early wickets and hoping to recreate the way West Indies skittled the Asian side out for 105.
Instead, the visitors put that woeful performance behind them and racked up 348 for eight, delighting fans in the stands with 29 fours and six sixes.
Mohammad Hafeez was the top scorer with 84 off 62 balls, while Babar Azam made 63 and captain Sarfaraz Ahmed belted a quickfire 55. “Everyone chipped in today and gave everything which was required to win the game,” said Hafeez.
Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq delighted the vocal supporters by belting a string of boundaries off Archer and Woakes in an opening partnership of 82.
England spinner Moeen Ali finally broke up the pair, getting Fakhar stumped, on his way to a three-wicket haul, while Woakes grabbed three more and also took four catches on a day when England was otherwise uncharacteristically ragged in the field.
Babar and Hafeez steadied the ship with a partnership of 88 as Pakistan set England a larger score than any side had ever chased down in the history of the competition.
England lost Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Eoin Morgan and Ben Stokes to leave the side on 118 for four and give Root and Buttler a mountain to climb.
The two did their best, each eventually reaching three figures. Root hit 10 fours and one six on his way to 107. Buttler smashed a four to notch up his own hundred a few overs later, only to fall the very next ball.
As the balls-remaining count dwindled, Moeen and Woakes swung valiantly at everything they could but it was not enough to carry the team over the line.