A tremendous over from left-arm spinner Zafar Gohar proved pivotal as Pakistan sneaked a dramatic four-run win over England at Derby in the final group match of the Under-19 Tri-Series.
Ben Duckett’s Young Lions had suffered two defeats to Pakistan earlier in the competition, the second by 180 runs three days ago.
However, with both teams assured of a place in the final following England’s nine-wicket victory over Bangladesh yesterday, the hosts looked set to gain a morale-boosting triumph today.
Chasing 228, England entered the 49th over of their innings on 216 for three, with Ryan Higgins - an unbeaten centurion 24 hours earlier - having passed 50.
Yet Gohar then took centre stage on a surface offering sharp turn, removing Will Rhodes and Higgins, for 54, while conceding just one run in his final set of six.
Gohar finished with 3-24 from 10 and England came up agonisingly short on 223 for six.
Pakistan had earlier been limited to 227 for eight, despite half-centuries from Imam-ul-Haq and Hasan Raza, as Jack Winslade and Will Rhodes shared six wickets.
Winslade dismissed both Pakistan openers for one and Raza for 71 en route to 3-37, while Rhodes removed the dangerous Imam, who hit 64, before completing figures of 3-45 with two wickets in the final over of the innings.
Under floodlights, England were given the ideal platform in reply, Jonathan Tattersall and Harry Finch sharing 111 in 29.1 overs for the first wicket.
After both had fallen for 53, Higgins capitalised on being dropped in the 45th over to become the third half-centurion of the innings, but it was Gohar who had the final say.
Pakistan therefore remain unbeaten, but England can take heart from their improved performance and will have high hopes of coming out on top at Trent Bridge on Monday.