Pakistan v England, 2nd T20, Dubai February 24, 2012

Momentum swings again


Match facts

Saturday February 25, Dubai International Cricket Stadium
Start time 2000 (1600 GMT)

Big Picture

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.

Form guide

Pakistan: WWWWW
England: LWLWW

Players to watch

Hammad Azam made his T20 international debut in the first match, not that many people would have noticed as he did not bat (he was due in at No. 8) and then Misbah chose not to bowl him in a tense situation. He is 20 years old, from Attock in the Punjab. England eyes will be on Eoin Morgan more than most. He has yet to hit a half-century on the tour.

Team news

Pakistan will have no appetite for changes after winning on Thursday. England often give a defeated side a chance to make amends and seem to have taken a view about Alex Hales batting limitations in Asia ahead of World Twenty20. Any clamour for Alastair Cook to play - well, it would be a good story - is likely to be resisted, but the choice between Tim Bresnan or Steven Finn might be more open.

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

The par score in Dubai is around 140 and Pakistan just achieved that with 144-6 in the opening match. Expectations are for something similar on Saturday.

Stats and trivia

  • If Pakistan win the last two matches they will equal their best run of seven consecutive T20 victories.

  • Mushtaq Mohammad, the former Pakistan all-rounder, has named Mohammad Hafeez as the man who should become Pakistan's next one-day captain.

  • Graeme Swann's three wickets on Thursday moved him up to joint sixth in the T20I wicket-takers' list, level with Broad on 37.


"Broady is a single man and a good-looking man. He's England captain. Why wouldn't she want to marry him? But, having heard her voice screeching through our ears all night, I'm not sure he'll be too keen to accept her offer."
Graeme Swann, England's eternal optimist, reflects on the praise offered by one of Broad's female admirers on the PA system during the opening T20 international.

"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

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ishtiyaq on February 25, 2012, 15:17 GMT

    Kamran akmal & ahmed shehzad must be there in the team.

  • Nik on February 25, 2012, 13:22 GMT

    After 3 T20 World cups, it obvious except to the oblivious that we need a sensible calm intellectual captain. Misbah is the best choice by far. Remember Pakistan won the cup with Younis Khan as captain, who is not too dissimilar to Misbah in temperament. We lost the semi's of a World Cup (actually 2) with Afridi at the helm. The extra tact and strategy could have got us to 2 more finals. Recommending Hafeez as a future captain is fine, but stirring up divisions in the team is stupid and has a hint of jealousy and sinister evil intent. Please support the team, the captain, help him trust his youngsters and prove his mettle!

  • Nik on February 25, 2012, 12:04 GMT

    Misbah can clinch the series here with a win. This will be a major boost for their preparations for the T20 World Cup. Although they lost the ODIs badly, it has little relevance to a World Cup 2015 some three years away. England know this and are just as desperate to get some momentum. I agree that it would good to see Afridi and Zia opening. The start by Zia in the last game really boosted the flagging confidence of the Pakistan team and their performances we're brilliant for the majority. Gul the dozer was back to his lethal best. Hafeez was sublime. Ajmal was masterful at the end. Afridi was okay, but he got KP! Junaid was England's twelfth man, leaking runs like a sieve.

  • Dummy4 on February 25, 2012, 11:58 GMT

    England will win today....

  • Dummy4 on February 25, 2012, 11:10 GMT

    shoaib malik,hafeez,afridi ,umar akmal,hammad azam,umar gul,saeed ajmal,asad shafiq,junaid khan,misbah,adnan akmal

  • Don on February 25, 2012, 11:01 GMT

    I think (hope) England will bounce back in this series but it is still a shame that they insist on not playing Prior & having him bat at say six even if they keep Keiswetter in as a bat & drop one of the young guns Bairstow or Buttler, I would like to see Bresnan in for Finn today....but that might not happen either & I am also of the opinion that Cook & KP opening might prove a better option than CK, lets face it Cook was supposed to be not very good at one day cricket & he proved his doubters wrong there. I am a a fan of our coach Andy Flower but think he can be just a touch too unmoving at is hoping for a bit of light entertainment later today & of course an England win would be nice.

  • Dummy4 on February 25, 2012, 10:32 GMT

    I would like to see kamran akmal in team.He is a good batsman who can open.AWais zi a seems a mindless whacker with limited strokes.We need a pacer.I hv doubts about Hamas azam.I have seen him playing and may not capable to cope with ball in front of good not sure.

  • Faheem Ahmed on February 25, 2012, 10:22 GMT

    England is lacking experience and fire power in middle, they should bring back Cook to open with KP, Kieswetter to come at 3 and bopara at 6 so that he can handle the pressure after quick blows like Misbah and Malik did for Pakistan.

  • Dummy4 on February 25, 2012, 9:59 GMT

    Having assessed the way the first T20 went,I am convinced that Pakistan will win the second T20 as well,provided they bat first.If England could not win from a position where they were 35 runs to score from 5 overs with 7 wickets in hand, it proves that they equipped not equipped to win any T20 matches against Pakistan in Dubai, Pakistan's bowling missiles are superior and more effective in the conditions prevailing in Dubai.If Junaid Khan bowls as well as Umar Gul England will certainly be routed.If Shoaib Malik could replicate his performance in this match too, then Pakistan's prospect of winning is further bolstered.

  • Dummy4 on February 25, 2012, 7:22 GMT

    Ayaza Ali, I think you you don't have cricketing knowledge. Asad shafiq is better batsman then all three non serious akmals. Misbah-ul-haq we are proud of you and always pray for you.

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