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February 24, 2012
News : England can bounce back - Swann
Features : At last, the people come
Report : Gul and Ajmal deny England at the death
Analysis : Misbah gets his measures right
Matches: England v Pakistan at Dubai (DSC)
Series/Tournaments: England tour of United Arab Emirates
Thirty-five runs from the last five overs with seven wickets left are, as England's Twenty20 captain Stuart Broad ruefully observed on Thursday night, "the positions you want to win from". But it was Pakistan who closed out England by eight runs to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
That points to England's quandary six months before the World Twenty20. In Jonny Bairstow and Joss Buttler, they remain convinced they have the best two young T20 players in the country. But they have only nine T20 international appearances between them and minimal experience in Asian conditions. With the World Twenty20 to be played in Sri Lanka in September, England need them to learn fast.
Pakistan's win caused Misbah-ul-Haq's reputation as an international captain to lurch back to the positive. In the Tests he was portrayed as just the sort of experienced hand Pakistan needed. In the ODIs he was held to be unimaginative and ready to be moved on. In the first T20, he played a decisive role with the bat and then, in England's innings, fielded tactical suggestions from rather more senior professionals than he would have liked before receiving excessive praise for doing the blindingly obvious and saving his best bowlers until last. If Pakistan win the series he will probably lead them into World Twenty20.
Players to watch
Pakistan: (probable) 1 Mohammad Hafeez, 2 Awais Zia, 3 Asad Shafiq, 4 Umar Akmal, 5 Misbah-ul-Haq, 6 Shoaib Malik, 7 Shahid Afridi, 8 Hammad Azam, 9 Umar Gul, 10 Saeed Ajmal, 11 Junaid Khan
England: (probable) 1 Kevin Pietersen, 2 Craig Kieswetter 3 Ravi Bopara, 4 Eoin Morgan, 5 Jonathan Bairstow, 6 Jos Buttler, 7 Samit Patel, 8 Stuart Broad, 9 Graeme Swann, 10 Jade Dernbach, 11 Steven Finn
Pitch and conditions
Stats and trivia
"I would like to see Pakistani players participating in the IPL. The BCCI and the PCB should sit together and sort out the issue."
Azhar Mahmood, the former Pakistan allrounder, who has an IPL contract because of a British passport, argues that Pakistan's T20 stars deserve licence to join the world's leading T20 tournament
Edited by Alan Gardner
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