Pakistan started the first T20I in uncharacteristically disciplined fashion to leave England shell shocked, but, unfortunately, it didn’t take long for the old habits to creep in. 11 balls into the match, Iftikhar Ahmed at first slip spilled an absolute sitter to hand Tom Banton a precious life.
Having disappointingly thrown away the Test series due to their own negligence, Pakistan entered the first T20I at Old Trafford as a brand new side, fielding multiple limited-over specialists they’d brought to the United Kingdom as a part of the touring party. And the freshness in the Pakistani camp reflected from the very first ball, as after a three-run first over from left-arm spinner Imad Wasim - which also included the wicket of Jonny Bairstow - a rejuvenated Shaheen Afridi kept the lid on the explosive Tom Banton in the second over, bowling four straight dot balls.
A loose delivery from Afridi saw Banton dispatch ball number five to the boundary, but just when the young left-armer thought he had his man in the final delivery of the over, a teammate of his, unfortunately, sabotaged what would have been the perfect start for Pakistan.
Having strayed on Banton’s pads on the fifth ball, Afridi corrected his line and length and landed ‘the perfect delivery’ on ball number six. The left-armer zapped one across the bat of the right-hander and Banton, desperate to get a move on, erred in his shot selection and threw his hands at a ball that was too close to cut. The ball took the edge of the batsman and looked like it was headed straight to the hands of the first slip fielder, but this is where tragedy struck for the visiting side.
With the ball coming towards him at a comfortable height, Iftikhar Ahmed, a fresh face in the side who was not part of the Test squad, got himself into an extremely awkward position and shelled what was an absolute sitter of a catch. As the ball came towards him at pace, Iftikhar got his feet into a tangle and spilled the catch and this agitated the bowler Shaheen, who walked away in disgust. The drop did haunt Pakistan as a couple of overs later, the ever-so-prolific Banton found his rhythm in the game.
BANTON: You miss I hit.
Hahaha! Lag gai...
Chacha iftikhar Ahmed dropped the catch of banton now he's kutte ki tarah beating #ENGvPAK— Abdul samad 🇵🇰 (@shalmeen34) August 28, 2020
Brilliant from Banton!
Some outrageous shots now from Banton, who was badly dropped by Iftikhar Ahmed at slip on 5.— Lawrence Booth (@the_topspin) August 28, 2020
Banton just banged them to every corner of the ground!
Iftikhar Ahmed’s drop is hurting Pakistan, Banton on fire#PakvsEng— muzamilasif (@muzamilasif4) August 28, 2020
Sadly dropped and the show has began!
Iftikhar Ahmed should've caught Banton's catch !#ENGvPAK— Fateh Hussain 🇵🇰 (@iFatehHussain) August 28, 2020
Iftikhar Ahmed was 29, some 30 years ago. pic.twitter.com/VprBXDJh1N— Humayoun Ahmed Khan (@HumayounAK) August 28, 2020
So? Advance happy birthday wishes from Banton??? :D :D