Pakistan once again proved that they are the most unpredictable side in world cricket. After getting bundled out for just 105 by West Indies on the same ground, the men in green produced an amazing turnaround to put up a score of 348/8. England captain Eoin Morgan won the toss and decided to bowl first, a decision totally understandable since they chased down targets of 340 or more in three successive games against the same opponents in the 5-match ODI series preceding the World Cup.
The good work from Pakistan started early in the innings with both Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq providing a good start. There wasn't much movement for the bowlers and the good bounce of the wicket wasn't too bothersome for the top-order.
The star of the bowling effort, interestingly, for England was Moeen Ali who used old-fashioned style of off spin bowling to pick up figures of 3/50 in his 10 overs, including the first three wickets. After the dismissal of Imam and Fakhar, Babar Azam and Mohammad Hafeez played beautifully, milking the fast bowlers and attacking the spinners, mainly Adil Rashid.
When Babar Azam was dismissed, captain Sarfaraz came in and built a good partnership where the two batsmen kept a good tempo. When the last ten overs arrived, England hoped for a good performance from their death-overs specialist Jofra Archer. But instead it turned out to Mark Wood, brought in the place of Liam Plunkett to add extra pace to the attack, who proved to be the best bowler, using his fast speed to good effect.
Archer, on the other hand, had an off day, conceding 79 runs in his 10 overs without a wicket. At 279/3 in the 43rd over, Pakistan seemed on their way to 350+. But then a flurry of wickets pushed them back to 319/6 in the 48th over when Sarfaraz got out.
However, thanks to some lusty blows from the lower order, Pakistan managed to reach 348. England would now need to create the world record for the highest run-chase in World Cup history to win.