|Pakistan 232-6 (20 overs): Babar 85 (49), Rizwan 63 (41)|
|England 201 (19.2 overs): Livingstone 103 (43), Shaheen 3-30|
|Pakistan won by 31 runs|
Liam Livingstone’s spectacular century was not enough to prevent England from being beaten by Pakistan in a riotous first Twenty20 at Trent Bridge.
With the hosts chasing 233 – what would have been their highest T20 pursuit of all-time – Livingstone reached 50 from 17 balls and 100 from 42, both England records.
He went to three figures with his ninth sixth, but was out next ball, a crucial swing of momentum towards Pakistan.
The tourists had earlier racked up 232-6 – their highest total in a T20 – taking advantage of a superb pitch and short boundaries on a sun-kissed evening in Nottingham.
Captain Babar Azam struck 85 from 49 balls and Mohammad Rizwan 63 from 41.
England were ragged, dropping catches and too often missing the mark with the ball to concede their highest score for eight years.
Livingstone’s incredible knock kept England in it, but they were eventually bowled out for 201 in the last over to lose by 31 runs.
The second game of the three-match series – at Headingley on Sunday at 14:30 BST – is live on BBC One.
Livingstone headlines thrilling entertainment
This was a memorable contest, magnificent entertainment played in front of a raucous crowd of 17,000.
Whereas Pakistan were humbled 3-0 by a virtual third-string England side in the one-day internationals, they were energised by a change of format and boosted by the hosts’ poor performance with the ball.
As well as Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes, an entire first-choice attack of Jofra Archer, Mark Wood, Sam Curran, Chris Jordan and Adil Rashid were missing. In their absence, England were flayed.
While the bowling understudies failed to impress, Livingstone, previously not a certainty for a place at the T20 World Cup in October, showed he belongs among England’s embarrassment of batting riches.
His clean striking was simply astonishing, made all the more impressive by the fact England lost regular wickets around him.
Livingstone’s eventual dismissal, caught at long-on off the leg-spin of Shadab Khan, was a hammer blow to England.
On a night illuminated by wonderful batting, it was Pakistan’s superior bowling and fielding – led by paceman Shaheen Shah Afridi’s 3-30 – that proved the difference.
Brilliant Babar leads Pakistan run-fest
England gifted away the chance to bat first and might wonder how different the outcome could have been had Dawid Malan held a difficult, low chance at a wide slip when Babar edged the first ball he faced, bowled by David Willey.
Reprieved, Babar played a majestic innings, full of wristy whips through the leg side.
Rizwan struggled at first, but gradually found fluency in a stand of 150 – the highest opening partnership against England in a T20.
The lack of early wickets severely hampered England’s cause and as the bowlers struggled with their lengths, Pakistan’s batsmen queued up to despatch the ball into the stands.
The first six did not come until the 12th over, but nine more were smashed after that as 152 runs were plundered in the final 10 overs.
England’s mountain proves too high
England’s display with the ball was as curious as it was disappointing. Only Willey managed an economy under 10, yet off-spinner Moeen Ali went unused, with Livingstone bowling two overs.
Eoin Morgan’s men have history at Trent Bridge – twice on this ground they have posted record totals in ODIs – and Livingstone raised hopes that something special could be achieved once more.
Although England lost three wickets in the powerplay – Shaheen and Haris Rauf both took spectacular catches – Jason Roy got them moving with 32 from 13 balls.
Then Livingstone took over with fast hands, brute force and straight hitting. He reached 50 in only 22 minutes, adding 51 in five overs with Morgan and 44 in 4.3 with Lewis Gregory.
He went to three figures by lofting Shadab over long-on, only to be held on the same boundary by Shaheen, departing to rapturous applause.
Willey was England’s last hope, yet he fell to one more superb catch, this time by Shadab, running around the leg-side rope.
‘An incredible knock’ – what they said
England’s Liam Livingstone: “We’ve spent 10 days in isolation. It was nice to have that break and I came back in feeling really fresh. I didn’t pick a bat up for 10 days then came back in yesterday and felt really good.”
England captain Eoin Morgan: “It was an incredible knock. The biggest compliment I could pay him is our changing room has watched some incredible knocks from Roy or (Jos) Buttler or Ali and that knock was as good as any of them. He was incredible.”
Pakistan captain Babar Azam: “Everyone took part in today’s win. After mine and Rizwan’s partnership all the batsmen came and performed their roles and we got a brilliant total.
“We want to carry on the momentum on to the next game and take the positives from today.”