Player of the Match
Player of the Match

Jofra Archer impresses on comeback as Jos Buttler makes the difference in 23-run win

Jofra Archer takes the plaudits after claiming his comeback wicket Getty Images

England 183 for 7 (Buttler 84, Shaheen 3-36) beat Pakistan 160 (Fakhar 45, Topley 3-41) by 23 runs

Jofra Archer took 2 for 28 and was clocked at 92mph/148kph in his first professional match in 385 days, as he overcame an expensive start to close out England's victory over Pakistan at Edgbaston.

Playing in front of an international crowd in England for the first time since the 2019 Ashes, Archer slashed his first ball for four and crunched his third for six in a four-ball cameo of 12 not out. But his first over cost 15 runs, as Fakhar Zaman swung him over midwicket for four and scooped him for six after Babar Azam had rifled Archer's second ball over mid-off.

But he struck with the first ball of his next over when Azam Khan chipped to short cover - prompting a broad smile after months of rehabilitation - and effectively sealed the win when he had Imad Wasim caught at deep point in his final over. He conceded a solitary boundary in his final three overs and was regularly clocked at 90mph/145kph or above.

Jos Buttler, who described Archer's performance as "brilliant", was named player of the match for his own innings of 84 off 51 balls. Buttler looked scratchy early on but ruthlessly targeted Shadab Khan, who bowled four wicketless overs for 55, only a fortnight after conceding his previous worst figures of 0 for 54 against Ireland. Buttler brought up 3,000 T20I runs in the process, the first Englishman to reach the landmark.

Pakistan kept the required rate manageable for much of their pursuit of 184, thanks primarily to Fakhar's powerful innings of 45 off 21 from No. 4. But they lost wickets too regularly, with no partnership lasting for even 30 balls, and were eventually bowled out with four balls unused.

Buttler goes through the gears

Buttler, playing a record-equalling 115th T20I for England, inside-edged his fourth ball past his leg stump and though he and Phil Salt traded boundaries in the first three overs, they both struggled for timing. Salt fell early, hauling Imad Wasim's first ball to Shaheen Afridi at wide long-on, but Will Jacks looked in pristine touch at No. 3.

He lofted the fifth ball he faced for a straight six off Haris Rauf - playing his first match since February, when he dislocated his shoulder at the PSL - and had 21 off 10 balls at the end of the Powerplay, crashing boundaries through the covers off both Haris and Mohammad Amir. At the same stage, Buttler had a more sedate 19 off 17.

But Shadab's introduction prompted a change in Buttler's approach: he slapped the first ball of the legspinner's over for four, and the final ball disappeared over long-on. Buttler went through his repertoire, deftly scooping Haris for six in between reverse-sweeping and reverse-slog-sweeping Shadab for four and then six. All told, he took 40 off the 15 balls he faced from him.

England's middle-order slide

After Jacks slapped Rauf to point, Jonny Bairstow ground out four runs off his first 10 balls before slog-sweeping Shadab for six in his final over, which cost 20. He crunched Shaheen over extra cover for four then flicked his full toss away for six, but his top-edged pull to deep square leg set about a collapse of 5 for 25 in 25 balls.

Imad - whose four miserly overs cost only 19 runs - bowled Harry Brook as he backed away second-ball, while Buttler mistimed Haris' slower ball to long-on as he looked to launch at the death. His 84 was his highest score in any international cricket since his hundred against South Africa in February 2023.

Shaheen struck twice in his final over, having Moeen Ali caught at wide long-on and Chris Jordan top-edging to short fine leg. Having looked set for 200, England at least went past 180 thanks to Archer's cameo but when Liam Livingstone could only toe-end the final ball of the innings back to Amir, Pakistan looked in the game.

Moeen's tight start

After 14 months since his last match for England, Archer had to wait another five overs until he was brought into the attack: Buttler threw the new ball to Moeen instead, and Mohammad Rizwan fell into the trap. After defending the first two balls of the innings, Rizwan charged down looking to haul Moeen over the leg side but could only pick out Livingstone at short midwicket.

Reece Topley shared the new ball with Archer held back, and struck in his second over when Saim Ayub swung his rising length ball straight to deep square leg. Fakhar was nearly dismissed by the first ball he faced, edging just past Moeen at wide slip, but then deftly scooped his second for four and swung his fourth through midwicket.

Archer's comeback

Archer's first ball was right on the money at 86mph/138kph, but his first over - the sixth - cost 15 as Fakhar raced to 27 off his first nine balls. But Babar fell without making much of a dent in the target, trapped lbw on the sweep by Moeen for 32 off 26 balls: the sort of innings that ignites debate over his role in Pakistan's T20I side.

Fakhar continued to attack, swinging Moeen into the third tier of the pavilion, but struggled to get on strike. Adil Rashid - playing his first match since the ILT20 in February - conceded seven runs in his first two overs and accounted for Shadab, whose difficult afternoon culminated in a miscued slog-sweep to long-on.

Azam [Khan] crashed Jordan for back-to-back boundaries through point but when he miscued Archer to short cover, England were back on top. Archer's second over cost only a single, and after Fakhar fell for 45 - swinging Livingstone down to long-on - the required rate climbed towards 12.

Imad and Iftikhar both briefly threatened, both launching towering sixes, but after the latter holed out off Topley, England's seamers closed things out. Jordan, Archer and Topley conceded a solitary boundary between them in the final 20 balls of the innings, with Shaheen caught at deep midwicket to leave Pakistan bowled out 24 short of their target.

Pakistan 2nd innings Partnerships

1st0Mohammad RizwanSaim Ayub
2nd14Babar AzamSaim Ayub
3rd53Babar AzamFakhar Zaman
4th11Fakhar ZamanShadab Khan
5th13Fakhar ZamanAzam Khan
6th9Iftikhar AhmedFakhar Zaman
7th40Imad WasimIftikhar Ahmed
8th7Imad WasimShaheen Shah Afridi
9th7Mohammad AmirShaheen Shah Afridi
10th6Shaheen Shah AfridiHaris Rauf