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September 6, 2010
Match factsSeptember 7, 2010, Cardiff
A cricket match was completed at Cardiff on Sunday which, given what had happened over the last week, was something to be very grateful for. England, in their first Twenty20 outing since winning the world title in May, were impressive with the ball and in the way Eoin Morgan and Michael Yardy chased down the target, while familiar Pakistan failings came to the fore in the field.
However, the hosts will know it wasn't a perfect performance. Three catches went down and the batting subsided to 62 for 5 as Pakistan threatened to turn the game around. England will want to sharpen their skills in the second match ahead of the five ODIs, but such is the confidence in the team it is hard to see past another home victory.
Pakistan need to rethink their strategy because it was a complete waste to leave Abdul Razzaq in the dug-out for 20 overs and Shahid Afridi needs more time in the middle. One of them has to bat in the top three. Shoaib Akhtar bowled quickly to rattle England's top order, but his fielding was an embarrassment with the drop of Morgan the turning point in the game.
Form guide (last five completed matches; most recent first)England WWWWW
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Craig Kieswetter is facing his last international innings of the summer and, if Steve Davies takes his chance over the next two weeks, what could be his last international innings for quite a while. England's next Twenty20 isn't until January following the Ashes and Kieswetter's form has been on the slide since the World Twenty20. He was undone by Shoaib's pace in the opening game, but has the backing of Paul Collingwood to continue with his attacking mindset. However, he really needs a substantial innings to remain central to the team's future plans.
Shahid Afridi has returned to lead Pakistan in the midst of a crisis and has tried his best to move the talk away from spot-fixing allegations. He remains one of the finest Twenty20 cricketers in the world, but couldn't have much impact with the bat on Sunday as England's death bowling proved hard to get away. With the ball, though, he caused problems with two wickets and almost turned the game around. If anyone can change Pakistan's fortunes it's Afridi.
There is no reason for England to change a winning formula so James Anderson is likely to remain on the sidelines of the Twenty20 team. However, Luke Wright needs a much-improved display after dropping a catch and making a duck on Sunday while the captain could also do with a few runs.
England (probable) 1 Craig Kieswetter, 2 Steve Davies (wk), 3 Ravi Bopara, 4 Paul Collingwood, 5 Eoin Morgan, 6 Luke Wright, 7 Tim Bresnan, 8 Michael Yardy, 9 Graeme Swann, 10 Stuart Broad, 11 Ryan Sidebottom
It's always a guessing game with Pakistan, but given the lack of options in a reduced squad the same XI is likely to take the field. However, it would be very strange if they didn't alter the batting order to make better use of Afridi and Razzaq.
Pakistan (probable) 1 Shahzaib Hasan, 2 Kamran Akmal (wk), 3 Fawad Alam, 4 Mohammad Yousuf, 5 Umar Akmal, 6 Shahid Afridi (capt), 7 Abdul Razzaq, 8 Umar Gul, 9 Wahab Riaz, 10 Saeed Ajmal, 11 Shoaib Akhtar
Pitch and conditions
There was more turn than anyone expected in the first match and this game will be played on the same surface so the spinners are likely to be key again. The large boundaries cut down on the fours and sixes - there were none of the latter - and when even Afridi can't clear the ropes you know it's hard work. Heavy rain is forecast on Monday and showers on Tuesday, but the new outfield drains well.
Stats and Trivia
"I didn't have to say anything. You just look at each other, and those smiles go on your faces. We've got great memories of that. But from a captain's point of view you've got to try to tell the guys to restart ... and we did it 100%."
Paul Collingwood enjoyed having most of his World Twenty20 winners back together
"We missed some opportunities, like catches and run-outs. So next time I hope we will avail these opportunities. In this kind of cricket, fielding is a main weapon if you want to win."
Shahid Afridi knows what his team have to improve on
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at CricinfoFeeds: Andrew McGlashan
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