Pakistan 145 (Rizwan 63, Wood 3-20) beat England 139 for 7 (Moeen 51*) by six runs
For the second successive game, Pakistan were put in to bat first, scraped to what appeared a below-par total, and saw their bowlers bail them out. After being bowled out for 145 in 18.5 overs, the hosts took the attack to England with the ball, knocking over three wickets in the powerplay and then squeezing with the spin of Shadab Khan and Iftikhar Ahmed. In the end, a majestic lone hand from Moeen Ali, who scored an unbeaten 51 off 36, threatened to snatch it away in an incredible smash and grab, but debutant Aamer Jamal just about held his nerve, giving Pakistan a six-run win, and a 3-2 series lead.
There has been plenty of criticism of Mohammad Rizwan and his strike rate, but his innings encapsulated why Pakistan value his consistency so much. On an off-day with the bat and a splendid bowling performance from England, spearheaded by Mark Wood and David Willey, Rizwan hung around until the 18th over, and was the ninth wicket to fall. He had racked up 63 off 46; the next highest score from a Pakistan batter was 15. It allowed Pakistan to get to something resembling respectability, particular as humid, heavy conditions threatened to slow down both the pitch and the outfield. Even so, the odds were heavily against them, with Pakistan never having defended a total this low in their home country.
England could have put the game to bed early on, but instead let Pakistan in with a spate of bizarre, reckless shots that went straight to fielders. Phil Salt picked out the only man out in the deep on the leg side in the fourth over, but it had taken Alex Hales just five balls to find backward point trying to slice a delivery that had turned and gripped. Ben Duckett, who has exploited the field so masterfully at times this series, fell into the most basic trap Pakistan had set, edging one straight down deep third's throat with the man stationed specifically for that shot.
After the Powerplay was done, Babar Azam turned immediately to Shadab, and having assessed that spin would be hard to get away paired him up with Iftikhar. England could neither stick nor twist against the two, continuing to lose wickets without scoring very many runs. It wasn't until Moeen, who had scrapped through the early phase of his innings, began to cut loose that England realised a remarkable heist was on. A slew of fours and sixes off the middle of his bat took the game deep, before Jamal held steady and closed out the game with the final delivery.
Wood on fire
There's something about giving Wood a rest which sees him return all guns blazing. After an injury lay-off, he traumatised Pakistan in the third T20I with the sort of extreme pace the hosts have considered their birthright for generations, even clocking 97mph/156kph on the speed gun. Rested for the fourth game, he picked up where he left off in Lahore, breathing the sort of fire that proved much too hot to handle for Pakistan once more. He was hitting the low-to-mid 90s mph right from the outset, rushing Rizwan into a pull shot before firing a length ball at Babar at 95mph/152kph to follow. Two balls later, Babar pulled one that whizzed at him at 93mph/150kph, straight to the hands of square leg.
Pace, as Pakistan know too well, troubles everyone, no matter the batter, or their individual strengths and weaknesses. Haider Ali found himself frozen at the crease trying to pull a 92mph/148kph length ball, and only succeeded in top-edging straight up into the air.
In the middle overs, Wood showed there was as much guile to his game as speed. When he saw Asif Ali backing away outside leg stump - and who wouldn't against a bowler in such fearsome form? - Wood ditched the shorter length, cleaning him up with a leg stump yorker. Mohammad Nawaz had a brain-fade the same over, meandering down the pitch aimlessly to gift England another wicket. The Englishman had registered figures of 3-0-9-3 at that point, and they didn't flatter him in the slightest.
Pakistan go slow
With the wicket steadily getting skiddier and conditions wetter, Pakistan opted for the complete inverse, throwing in Iftikhar and the returning Shadab right after the powerplay. The duo bowled out their allotted quotes in one fever dream of an eight-over burst, or so it must have felt like for England. Iftikhar slid them through flat almost every ball, taking care to steer clear of the batters' hitting arcs, while Shadab got the ball to skid and stick in the pitch. It turned what looked like a straightforward chase into a horrible, scrappy affair. England managed just two boundaries off those 48 deliveries, and just 42 runs, losing both Dawid Malan and Harry Brook in the process. That passage of play had begin with the required rate at 7.42, but when the pair were done, it had soared to 10.50.
Moeen seemed to have spent much of that innings in hibernation, happy to rotate the strike and even play second fiddle to Dawid Malan and later Sam Curran. He had managed just 14 off his first 19 balls, and looked to be finding conditions just as turgid as his team-mates were. But in the final five overs, there were signs he was stirring from that slumber. He was as spectacular against the pace bowlers as he was stodgy against spin. When Wasim was carved through point in the 16th over, there was evidence the game wasn't quite done yet. If Pakistan hadn't picked up that warning sign, they certainly did when Haris Rauf was insouciantly timed over square leg for six.
A further six and a four off Wasim off the following two overs brought the game to a head with 15 required in the final six. Babar trusted Jamal over Nawaz to bowl it, and the signs looked ominous when a slot ball was butched over long-on to bring the equation down to eight off three. By this time, Moeen was in his zone, barely acknowledging the half-century that shot had taken him to. But with Moeen turning down singles, Jamal found the wide line that had kept him quiet and England found Pakistan's modest total was just out of their reach.