Pakistan v England, 2nd ODI, Abu Dhabi February 15, 2012

Finn and Cook repeat tricks in England win


England 250 for 4 (Cook 102, Bopara 58) beat Pakistan 230 all out (Misbah 47, Finn 4-34) by 20 runs

England's revival in the one-day format continued as impressive death bowling secured a 20-run victory in Abu Dhabi and a 2-0 series lead to ensure another hundred from Alastair Cook laid the foundations for success. Pakistan made it a much tighter chase than two days ago, but paid the price for not having a batsman convert into something substantial, as Cook had managed for the second innings in a row.

The game was England's when Misbah-ul-Haq was breathtakingly caught by Craig Kieswetter as the wicketkeeper ran back under a spiralling top edge and clung on despite needing to dive full length. The other crucial moment had come two overs earlier - in the 45th - when Shahid Afridi, who was dropped at long-off when Stuart Broad couldn't hold a tough chance, then took two boundaries off Samit Patel's last over to threaten a charge. However, he swung and missed at James Anderson who then completed a maiden against the hapless Abdur Rehman.

Misbah could only watch on as Rehman was beaten delivery after delivery by England's quick bowlers to turn the closing stages of the chase from tough to near impossible. He only managed 1 from 12 balls despite being given a free hit by Steven Finn who then responded by hitting the stumps twice in two deliveries; the second ending Rehman's forlorn stay. Finn cleaned up the final two wickets to replicate his opening-match figures of 4 for 34 in another reputation-enhancing display.

Pakistan didn't help their cause with some gifted wickets. They had played sensibly to see off Finn's early threat - his first spell was five overs for six - but Mohammed Hafeez chipped Anderson to midwicket from the second ball of the bowling Powerplay. His opening partner, Imran Farhat, was run out when he lost awareness of where the ball had gone following an lbw appeal. Broad swooped from his follow through and hit with an under-arm flick.

Patel then underlined how useful he is becoming to England's one-day team. On a wearing surface he proved difficult to score off (until Afridi's brief foray) and claimed the key scalp of Younis Khan who missed a paddle sweep. Nine overs later, as Azhar Ali and Misbah were starting to build a partnership, Patel beat Azhar's attempt to cut with a ball that skidded through.

Each time Pakistan threatened England found the breakthrough and Patel's impact on the match extended to his often-derided fielding when he held a fiercely struck cut from Umar Akmal low down at cover. Akmal wasn't sure it had carried but, unlike as is often the case, the third umpire was happy the catch was clean.

Cook's role in the field should not be underestimated either. He switched his bowlers around confidently and reacted to situations more swiftly than has previously been seen. The last three days couldn't really have gone much better for him as he became the first England captain to score back-to-back one-day hundreds.

Cook's timing and placement stood out. Early on he punched Aizaz Cheema off the back foot between mid-off and cover then, when spin was introduced after surprisingly being overlooked for five overs, collected consecutive boundaries off Hafeez with a flick through midwicket and another drive. He survived one chance, on 28, when Akmal dropped an edge off Afridi to highlight the risk of not playing a specialist wicketkeeper. It became very costly.

A strong slog-sweep took him to 49 and his fifty came from 66 balls. For lengthy periods he was content to keep the scoreboard ticking with nudges and flicks, but would occasionally kick-start the scoring with a small flurry of boundaries as was the case during the batting Powerplay when he dispatched Umar Gul. Having reached his hundred off 118 balls, he couldn't quite take his innings as deep this time when a leading edge looped back to Afridi.

It wasn't only Cook's innings that produced similarities to the opening match. Kevin Pietersen was again out-scored in the opening stand which ended on 67 when he was trapped lbw by Saeed Ajmal from around the wicket. He had previously survived a close lbw shout on 23 against Afridi which led to Pakistan using up their one referral. Significantly for England, however, this was the first innings of the tour where they weren't dominated by Ajmal as he ended with a moderate 1 for 54.

Jonathan Trott, who fell first ball to Afridi in the opening match, again didn't look entirely convincing against the legspinner but settled in alongside Cook in a partnership that always has the potential to spark debate. The stand produced 49 runs in 11 overs until Trott edged a short, wide delivery from Cheema to Akmal.

It was then over to Team Essex again. Ravi Bopara took time to play himself in and his innings never became an onslaught even in the closing overs, but the pitch was not conducive to free-flowing scoring. He and Eoin Morgan, who finally spent some time at the crease, ensured no late collapse and the way England batted throughout suggested they had a clear total in mind that they were confident of defending. Their calculations proved astute.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • j on February 18, 2012, 19:38 GMT

    As to how English bowlers make a pitch seem unplayable, only for the opposition's bowlers make it look flat, just ask any Australian fan, they'll tell you all about that.

  • Cricket on February 18, 2012, 18:54 GMT

    @ getsetgopk on (Feb 16 2012, 14:15 PM GMT) :- Now if you have seen the 3rd ODI, I am sure now you will agree with me that UMAR GUL and ISHANT SHARMA are comparable. You see today on the same pitch English bowlers were unplayable but yet Gul was none-sense. Cheema was much better than Umar Gul, but for some strange reasons Misbah employed Gul again. Even Waqar was surpised in the comentary and he said " Why is Misbah bowig Gul now".

  • dani on February 17, 2012, 21:08 GMT

    @waaalll--dear bro u r right that both nasir n shahzad r talented players..but in my opinion they lack the temperament of 50 over match,keep aside test matches...they both r aggressive..they should control their aggression a bit..afterall in these days only those players prosper who mould themselves as required,like asad n azhar...n there is no second opinion on farhat :)

  • Faisal on February 17, 2012, 18:01 GMT

    TO PAKISTANI FANS: Guys - get a hold on yourself! Losing two ODI's is no need to press the panic button. I've read calls for calling back Kamran Akmal here! Surely, this is sheer desperation: the guy has made Pakistan lose more matches than any individual with his comical keeping. This, however, is no justification for having a makeshift wicket keeper. Misbah and Mohsin are professionals, and they are expected to have more sense than that. Sarfaraz, in the first place, should never have been sent back. It is always useful to have two people vying for the same place. But once he was sent back, then Adnan should have been given the responsibility. Umar should be played purely as a batsman and he must bat higher up the order. He is Pakistan's best batsman at the moment in ODI's. Similarly, Shoaib Malik should not have been called for as a special case, but once he was sent over, he should have been given a longer run than just one match.

  • Valavan on February 17, 2012, 14:18 GMT

    @DINESHCC, dont forget you have to win out of India. thats important than giving lame excuses like we played Z team, all these excuses you can give when you discuss with your fellow indian fans, we can only play what is given to us. Also we can play with the team we have, We saw how SEHWAG turned India's fortune in Birmingham and Oval. Thats another feather in Indias Cap - 2 whitewashes. We understood who you all are with the post series comments of Gambhir, Sehwag and infield attitude of Ishanth sharma, virat kohli. More Sour grapes waiting for you when India travel in 2013 out of your home. cricinfo please publish.

  • mohammad on February 17, 2012, 12:30 GMT

    after 3-0 win in test, a 2-0 (may be 4-0 soon) loss is hard to digest. but the fact is, England is a much better and balanced side, they just played poor cricket in the test. Now, look at Pak side, no good wicket keeper for 10 years, no genuine fast bowler, horribly poor batting line up. Why everyone expect this Pak team to win? Be realistic. Mohsin/Misbah's love for Malik and Farhat is also responsible. They might win the 3rd match with proper team selection and hard work in the field.

  • Zuhaib on February 17, 2012, 12:07 GMT

    JAMSHED should replace FARHAT coz FARHAT is neither a regular performer nor an aggressive player,If JAMSHED would get regular chances than he will surely justified his selection which was always a big puzzle in FARHAT inclusion,FARHAT got no. of chances because of M.ILYAS,his father in law is always partial to his selection in national team which is not fair…SHEHZAD will be in squad as backup & should be provided time to time opportunity whenever there is possibility & should given proper chance after MISBAH retirement…GUYS r u agree with my views…I hope so…If not so plz tell me why…???

  • dani on February 17, 2012, 12:04 GMT

    the caption is perfectly right !! well played england..pakistan will come back surely,as was evident from the fight they put up in the 2nd odi..everyone is performing as they should have e.g. misbah playing cautiously,afridi playing boom-ishly,farhat playing selfishly to secure his position in the side,akmal dropping the chances as is expected by a part-timer,etc on the whole,theres nothing wrong with this side...we were beaten by a team who played well on those 2 days.

  • Zuhaib on February 17, 2012, 12:04 GMT

    GUL needs lots of improvement coz he forget his Inswinging Yorker & his Reverse Swing,he needs to developed these techniques of bowling again for his selection,for this PCB needs send him to domestic circuit & give N.O.C to play different countries leagues where he gains experience & his form…whenever he is capable to bowl these bowls than PCB will provide opportunity for him in international arena to prove himself…I don't think that SAMI is better than GUL but now SAMI is more experienced & lethal and as far as his batting & fielding is concerned he is far better than GUL…K.AKMAL is far better w.k & batsman as compare to those w.k who r playing in their absence in PAK squad,all of them r weak behind the stumps & none of them r capable to bat that's why K.AKMAL should given another opportunity…RAZZAK should continue at least for another 2 years in between H.AZAM needs to improve his bowling skills…

  • Zuhaib on February 17, 2012, 11:59 GMT

    PAK desperately need the services of KAMRAN AKAMAL,MOHD SAMI,ABDUR RAZZAK,NASIR JAMSHED & AHMAD SHEHZAD in place of ADNAN AKMAL,UMAR GUL,SHOAIB MALIK,IMRAN FARHAT & AZHAR ALI/YOUNUS KHAN…GUL & MALIK r out of form from long period of time,both of them need to find form in domestic circuit as far as ADNAN & FARHAT r concern they don't deserve a chance in limited over game…both r very defensive & r not capable to score quick runs…AZHAR & YOUNUS r PAK best bat but specially in TEST coz they r also so defensive but both reliable that's why PAK need only 1 of them in their middle order with MISBAH…I think YOUNUS needs to continue in limited over game with test too and AZHAR need to concentrate only in test cricket…He is a superb talent of test cricket & needs to improve more in test cricket so as to become a future great … GUYS r u agree with my views…I hope so…If not so plz tell me why...???

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