Pakistan v England, 2nd ODI, Abu Dhabi February 14, 2012

England look for further release


Match facts

Wednesday, February 15, Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
Start time 1500 (1100 GMT)

Big Picture

Immediately after the opening match attention turned largely to England: they found release from a troubled Test series with victory by 130 runs; Alastair Cook underlined himself once more as a captain eminently capable of adapting to 50-over cricket with an unflustered century compiled at almost a run a ball; and Steve Finn's fast-bowling development was clear to see as his four new-ball wickets confirmed England's superiority.

But what of Pakistan? Their batting vulnerabilities were masked as their spinners dominated the Test series but they were apparent again as they found Finn's opening burst impossible to contain. Bowl straight and full at Pakistan's top order, England have concluded, and you will prosper. If Pakistan take note of Cook's innings they may be tempted to ask Azhar Ali or Asad Shafiq to try to play a similar stabilising role.

Form guide

(Most recent first)
Pakistan: LWWWW
England: WLLLL

Players to watch

It was easy to see why the Pakistan captain, Misbah-ul-Haq, was tempted to call for Shoaib Malik to return to the squad. Pakistan need to shore up a long tail and England's vulnerability against spin has been so apparent that it is tempting to take the view that the more spinners the better. But Shoaib played with little verve in the opening game and on that evidence will be fortunate to survive the series.

If you missed Steven Finn's audition on Monday to be viewed as one of an exciting crop of new fast bowlers then don't make the mistake again. Finn was the stock answer to the "can you take any positives out of this?" cliché as England were drubbed 5-0 in India in October. Pakistan will not want him to get another opportunity to bowl under the lights as the dew enlivens the pitch.

Team news

Umar Akmal strained his back during the first match which must make him a doubt, especially to keep wicket, a role he fills modestly at best. Umar was once accused of overplaying a back injury to get his brother, Kamran, back behind the stumps. This time another brother, Adnan, could deputise. Shoaib Malik would be vulnerable in a shake-up.

England could bring in Tim Bresnan for batting depth and that would put James Anderson's place under threat. Jade Dernbach might have to wait for his chance until Dubai.

Pakistan (probable) 1 Mohammad Hafeez, 2 Imran Farhat, 3 Asad Shafiq, 4 Younis Khan, 5 Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), 6 Umar Akmal, 7 Adnam Akmal (wk), 8 Shahid Afridi, 9 Umar Gul, 10 Saeed Ajmal, 11 Wahab Riaz

England (probable) 1 Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Kevin Pietersen, 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Ravi Bopara, 5 Eoin Morgan, 6 Craig Kieswetter (wk), 7 Samit Patel, 8 Tim Bresnan, 9 Stuart Broad, 10 Graeme Swann, 11 Steven Finn

Pitch and conditions

The evidence of the first game points to a simple decision to bat first upon winning the toss, post 250-plus and then rely on new-ball wickets when evening dew freshens an otherwise benign surface.

Stats and trivia

  • Alastair Cook became the first England batsman to outscore the opposition in an ODI on Monday. His 137 beat Pakistan by seven runs.
  • England win bucked a losing trend of nine defeats in 10 matches across all formats and an equally demoralising run of 11 defeats in 12 overseas ODIs.
  • England have drawn level with Pakistan in fifth position in the ODI rankings. Both teams are on 107 points, three adrift of fourth-placed Sri Lanka.
  • Pakistan's 130 was their lowest ODI score since they were bowled out for 124 against New Zealand in Wellington in January 2011 and New Zealand needed only 17.2 overs to win the match. Pakistan went on to win the series 3-2.


"Happy Valentines Day everyone. Me and @StuartBroad8 will be having a romantic dinner tonight."
Steve Finn, England's fast bowler, does his best on Twitter to sound lovelorn on a long tour.

"I hope there is no panic. We should not panic because we have not batted badly in the last four or five matches so we need to try our best and put Monday's performance behind us."
Younis Khan, Pakistan batsman and former captain, appeals for calm.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on February 15, 2012, 10:52 GMT

    i cannot understand why people are being so rude to wahab riaz....he bowled poorly in his first two overs in the first game,18-0 and was brought back at the end of innings and did an exceptional job in restricting england...he bowled with pace and was the reason why england didn't post 280 which at one stage looked definite...

  • Valavan on February 15, 2012, 10:45 GMT

    @Gerard Periera, if you dont like to watch PAK vs ENG ODIs, go away and nobody is holding you here, you just watch wherever India plays or SL plays. You were one of the guys who ate lot of sour grapes when India failed miserably in England and in Australia in tests, If India cant play, so you mean pitches are doctored. Well SL won in Durban, and what you gonna say? You can just leave this forum so this forum will be clean. We arent expecting any of your one sided comments. Go and watch Dhoni saving ODI games. Ye he saved 2 ODIs and immediately he emerged as a better player. And Aussies won recently in SL both ODIs and Tests. You are just as pathetic as gambhir, sehwag, ishanth sharma, kohli who were crying and howling about showing themselves in home. cricinfo please publish.

  • Dummy4 on February 15, 2012, 10:39 GMT

    Pakistan doesn't have good openers ,its been a decade Syed Anwar retired Imran farhat is an OPENER ? Not Sure ! who is driving him in the team along with Shoaib Malik.Pathetic Openers.They are not close to the INDIAN Ranji Cricket Team Standards in Technique.Groom Youngsters.That will pay rich results,going forward.

  • Sharon on February 15, 2012, 10:37 GMT

    @3liteindia - no mate @Gerard Pereira is Indian, from the province of Utter Trollia.

  • Dummy4 on February 15, 2012, 10:12 GMT

    I think we should replace Azhar Ali with Imran Farhat, Adnan Akmal instead of Umar Akmal and Hammad Azam in place of Shoab Malik. If Umar can't keep then he shouldn't be able to bat. We gotta avoid such nonsense.

  • I on February 15, 2012, 10:01 GMT

    A lot of the comments her seem to focus on Cook & the Pakistan lineup (valid points), but largely neglect that the real match-winner for England was Finn. If Pakistan were going to have any chance of chasing the target, it would be from the top-order getting them close, and Finn saw them all off. Pakistan need to find an answer to Finn, and then the rest should fall into place. They can't afford to be hapless against 10 overs of one bowler, and expect their own bowlers to restrict England to a paltry total in order to have any hopes of winning.

  • hibbatur on February 15, 2012, 9:56 GMT

    Pakistan is looking a very weak one day batting side at the moment. They cant play Finn with new ball in his hand. Someone like Yunus Khan will have to show aggression against Finn to put him in place otherwise I dread the same in the other ODIs as last Monday.

  • Md Risalat on February 15, 2012, 9:54 GMT

    It's rather strange to see a Pak team playing with only 2 seamers in any condition, where's the 3rd seam option? Do they really need Malik for anything? How about grooming the young blood Azam for the next World Cup? Their spin bowling department is overshadowing the underperformance of the seamers but for how long? Surely they need a long term solution? Sad to say this isn't a balanced line up. Shafiq should bat slightly down the order anyway till Younus/Misbah retires. U Akmal should definitely open with Hafeez in my opinion. Some imagination/creativity could go a long way when it comes to the limited overs. Still, no need to panic at the moment, they just need to play the right xi.

  • navaid on February 15, 2012, 9:31 GMT

    Malik selection is the worst possible thing (if it's Misbah's call). It is height of killing of merit and Pak has to pay by losing game. One more thing if 6 batsmen are not good to do the job then 8 batsmen can not be sufficient. It means that Pak has to select 11 pure batsmen to avoid the vulnerability.

  • Rahul on February 15, 2012, 9:26 GMT

    The Umer Akmal issue of picking a back trouble which doesnt hinder his batting but his keeping when one of his brother is waiting in the wings is peculiar one. I know what Pak fans must be thinking in their heart. One solution would be to drop Umer and pick Adnan if there is indeed any truth these rumors or else everyone knows what the Great Imran would have done if someone had dared to do something like this in HIS team.

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