SOUTHAMPTON, England (Reuters) – England batsman Jos Buttler smashed an unbeaten 110 off 55 balls as the hosts beat Pakistan by 12 runs in a thrilling run-packed second one-day international on Saturday.
Buttler’s blitzkrieg and half-centuries by Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow and skipper Eoin Morgan helped England to a huge total of 373 for three wickets in 50 overs.
Pakistan, who made their best ever score when chasing in ODIs, fell short despite Fakhar Zaman’s superb 138 as the hosts took a 1-0 lead in the five-match series after the first game was washed out.
Asked to bat first on a flat pitch, England laid a solid platform for Buttler to build on, with Roy scoring 87 and Bairstow 51 in a 115-run opening partnership.
Joe Root fell for 40 following a brief rain interruption, bringing Morgan and Buttler together and the pair put on 162 for the fourth wicket with the captain contributing an unbeaten 71 off 48 balls.
Buttler did most of the big hitting, smashing nine sixes and six fours en route to his eighth ODI century and getting there with a fierce hit over the ropes which the new father celebrated by rocking his bat in his hands.
But Pakistan, whose previous highest score batting second was 344-8 in a loss to India in 2004, were not giving up without a fight.
Zaman took the attack to the bowlers, hitting four sixes and 12 fours before he was caught by Buttler off Chris Woakes to leave Pakistan at 227 for two.
Fifties from Babar Azam and Asif Ali and captain Sarfraz Ahmed’s unbeaten 41 took Pakistan close to their target but England hung on for the win as they continue preparations for the World Cup on home soil starting later this month.
Meanwhile, Ireland, who did not qualify for the World Cup, scored 327 for five in 50 overs in a five-wicket defeat by twice champions West Indies in Dublin.
Ireland’s Andy Balbirnie hit 135 to give his team a chance of an upset but the West Indies prevailed with their highest successful chase in ODIs thanks to Sunil Ambris’s 148.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)