Rain forces abandonment in first England-Pakistan T20 after Tom Banton fireworks

Tom Banton demonstrated his full range of power and innovation in a sparkling 71 off 42 balls but the inclement weather had the final say as England’s first Twenty20 international against Pakistan was abandoned.

Replacing the injured Jason Roy at the top of the order, Banton was dropped on five before he proceeded to punish Pakistan’s bowlers with four fours and five sixes, featuring some lusty hitting and unorthodox scoops.

His departure marked the start of England losing four wickets for 14 runs in 19 balls but the heavens opened at a gloomy Emirates Old Trafford, with the players disappearing for good after only 16.1 overs of play were possible.

Tom Banton produced a fine display of batting
Tom Banton produced a fine display of batting

Banton’s maiden T20 international half-century was the cornerstone of England’s 131 for six as the 21-year-old showed off the skills he has displayed in various domestic sprint format competitions around the world.

With England shorn of several first-choice stars for varying reasons, those routinely on the fringes such as Banton, Dawid Malan and Lewis Gregory were given their chance to burnish their credentials.

After England were invited to bat first under lights, Banton and Malan came together in the first over once Jonny Bairstow departed, the Yorkshireman offering a return catch to slow left-armer Imad Wasim.

Jonny Bairstow walks off after being dismissed
Jonny Bairstow walks off after being dismissed

Banton and Malan struggled to get to grips with a tricky pitch while the former was given a life early on when Iftikhar Ahmed shelled a regulation chance at slip off Shaheen Shah Afridi.

Left-arm quicks Shaheen and Mohammad Amir offered precious little width for the batsmen as England limpted to 34 for one after six overs – their lowest total in the powerplay since the 2016 World T20 final.

Banton was on 20 off 19 balls before he cast off the shackles with a meaty slog sweep off Shadab Khan for six, while the leg-spinner was taken the distance twice more in his next over by the opener.

A 71-run stand was ended when Malan was dismissed for 23 off as many balls, run out after haring down the pitch only for Banton to turn down a quick single having picked out the fielder at backward point.

Banton went to a 33-ball half-century before a couple of audacious scoops off seamer Haris Rauf. Attempting another big hit off Shadab, Banton instead got a leading edge, with Imad taking a steepler at extra cover.

Captain Eoin Morgan settled well but he missed a sweep off Iftikhar and was given lbw after making 14 off 10 balls, but the rain was steadily falling by the time Mohammad Rizwan took a sharp catch at the second attempt to see off Moeen Ali.

Match abandoned ☔ 😞

🙏 for ☀ on Sunday!#ENGvPAKpic.twitter.com/C3LZ7M2n4O

— England Cricket (@englandcricket) August 28, 2020

Rizwan then whipped off the bails after Gregory came charging down the pitch as England lurched from 109 for two to 123 for six before the rain turned heavier, leading to the players being brought off.

It was hoped a shortened run-chase would take place once the rain relented but the umpires deemed the outfield too wet, leading to the opener in this three-match series being called off at around 9pm.