Momentum swings again
Saturday February 25, Dubai International Cricket Stadium
Start time 2000 (1600 GMT)
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
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.
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