Pakistan ended their tour of England with a win as the Twenty20 international series finished level at 1-1 despite the best efforts of Moeen Ali, who returned to form in spectacular fashion at Emirates Old Trafford.
Half-centuries from teenage debutant Haider Ali and veteran Mohammad Hafeez propelled Pakistan to 190 for four after being asked to bat first in this third T20 before England lurched to 69 for four under lights in response.
Moeen had registered just 10 runs in four innings this summer and although he ended his slump with a spectacular 61 off 33 balls, Pakistan wrapped up a five-run victory after Tom Curran was unable to hit a six off the last ball.
Needing 11 off the last two deliveries, Curran creamed Haris Rauf over the covers for a maximum but the lower-order batsman was unable to repeat the trick as England’s run of five successive T20 series wins came to an end.
Eoin Morgan’s side head into a sprint format series against Australia later this week on the back of a defeat but Pakistan were well worth their win, with Haider, 19, showing why he is one of his country’s brightest prospects.
After his sparkling 54 from 33 deliveries, full of leg-side blows, Hafeez amassed 86 not out from 52 deliveries – the best score by a Pakistan batsman in a T20 against England, who were left with a daunting chase.
England had overhauled 196 to win on Sunday but they made an inauspicious start here, Jonny Bairstow cleaned up by Shaheen Shah Afridi’s yorker in the first over while Dawid Malan holed out to deep midwicket off Imad Wasim.
Tom Banton peppered the boundary rope – finding succour off Imad in particular – while Eoin Morgan bludgeoned a leg-side six off Shadab Khan, but a mix-up between the pair led to both being stranded in mid-pitch and the England captain headed back after Babar Azam’s pick up and throw from cover led to Sarfaraz Ahmed whipping off the bails.
Banton was then beaten for pace and trapped lbw for 46 after Pakistan reviewed the original not out decision, leaving Sam Billings and Moeen with a mountainous task as England still needed 122.
Billings made 26 in a 57-run stand before thick edging Wahab Riaz to third man to leave the hosts on 126 for five.
With England’s hopes slipping away, Moeen reignited the chase with three sixes in four balls as leg-spinner Shadab Khan conceded 20 in the 16th over but Lewis Gregory was bowled by Shaheen while Chris Jordan was run out.
Wahab claimed the crucial wicket of Moeen, attempting a pull but only getting a top-edge to offer a return catch.
With 17 needed from the last six balls, it proved too much for Curran and Adil Rashid to overhaul as England finished on 185 for eight.
Moeen had earlier made the breakthrough with the ball as England ended a run of three matches without a wicket in the powerplay as the spinner castled Fakhar Zaman with one that skidded on. Babar was then bowled by Curran for 21 after missing a flat-footed drive.
Haider demonstrated his quick wrists against Curran and Jordan either side of a streaky inside edge off the latter before the youngster greeted Lewis Gregory’s introduction with a towering six over midwicket.
Billings misjudged another meaty pull in the deep as he advanced too far in-field from the longer boundary to reprieve Haider, who then brought up a 28-ball half-century by bisecting the fielders for another leg-side four.
Hafeez had been happy to defer to Haider until he slog-swept Rashid for back-to-back maximums to the shorter boundary before a straighter six and a sweep for four took the 39-year-old to a 31-ball fifty.
The 100-run partnership had taken just 63 balls but Jordan uprooted Haider’s off-stump with a pinpoint yorker.
Hafeez led Pakistan’s charge thereafter and he had a red-inker after a diving Morgan spilled a tough chance when the batsman was on 79 off Jordan, who had his second wicket when Shadab Khan drove to Curran at mid-off.