Pakistan v England, 4th ODI, Dubai February 20, 2012

England home in on whitewash

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Match Facts

February 21, Dubai
Start time 1500 (1100 GMT)

The Big Picture

This time it's Pakistan who have only pride to play for. England are in search of a whitewash that will give some solace following the reversal in the Test series and, given how they have dominated in the one-dayers so far, they are strong favourites to complete the cleansweep.

A 4-0 margin will move England up to fourth in the ICC rankings, nothing to write home amount in itself but a sign that progress is already being made in the 50-over format. The conditions they have faced in this series haven't quite replicated the subcontinent at its toughest - that will come against India early next year - but neither is the next World Cup going to be held on dustbowls.

England's quick bowlers have been outstanding throughout the tour and now they are being led by Steven Finn. The fact Tim Bresnan hasn't been able to walk back into the team - match readiness or not - shows how strong England's options have become.

Pakistan appear at a turning point with their one-day side. With an eye on the next World Cup they need to give the likes of Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq a chance to bed in even if it means short-term pain. They also need a better plan B when their spinners don't dominate. Umar Gul's form has been a major problem and they may need to look again at some new pace options.

Form guide

(Most recent first)

Pakistan LLLWW
England WWWLL

Watch out for...

There are signs, albeit small ones at the moment, that Eoin Morgan is emerging from the form slump that engulfed his performances in the Test series. A couple of unbeaten innings have enabled him to feel bat on ball and he was promoted to No. 3 in the previous game. Long term he is still a perfect finisher for England, and if Morgan can produce a significant score it will be another tick.

Pakistan need more from Mohammad Hafeez. Since he made 88 in the opening Test against England he has had a number of starts without building a substantial innings. In the third ODI he had taken the attack to Stuart Broad only to fall two overs later for 29. He's wasting form that Pakistan can ill-afford not to make the most if. His offspin has also lost some of its effectiveness as England's batsmen take a more positive approach.

Team news

It's anyone's guess what Pakistan will do, especially as a number of players are suffering from flu. A dead ODI would appear the perfect chance to play Hammad Azam, the allrounder, while it also offers the chance to look at Junaid Khan, perhaps at the expense of the struggling Gul.

Pakistan (possible) 1 Mohammad Hafeez, 2 Imran Farhat, 3 Azhar Ali, 4 Younis Khan, 5 Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), 6 Umar Akmal, 7 Adnan Akmal (wk), 8 Shahid Afridi, 9 Saeed Ajmal, 10 Junaid Khan, 11 Aizaz Cheema

England's only questions are rest and rotation. Jos Buttler and Tim Bresnan were both expected to figure in this series but injuries meant being sat on the sidelines. It's now hard to find space in the team, although Bresnan for James Anderson remains a logical switch.

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

Pitch and conditions

The surface for Saturday's game produced more pace and bounce than has been seen throughout the tour which certainly didn't suit Pakistan's game. Neither did batting first help them much. The same pitch is due to be used again which means there may be a little more assistance for the spinners.

Stats and trivia

  • The most wickets by an England bowler in a one-day series is 15 in six matches by Paul Jarvis against India, in 1992-93, and Steven Finn currently has 11 scalps in three games.

  • Alastair Cook is currently fourth in the list of most runs scored in a one-day series for England

  • England have completed 10 previous whitewashes in a series of at least three matches while Pakistan have been whitewashed six times.

Quotes

"We did not bowl properly, we did not bat properly and we did not field properly. We haven't played to our potential."
Mohsin Khan, Pakistan's coach, is aware his side have some improving to do

"Even though I spent some time in India before Christmas, it doesn't replicate what you're up against. But I've played a lot of subcontinent cricket and I should be used to it. I wasn't, and my skill levels weren't up to scratch."
England batsman Eoin Morgan admits he has been well below his best

Edited by Alan Gardner

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • JG2704 on February 22, 2012, 19:40 GMT

    @ khurramsch on (February 21 2012, 10:10 AM GMT) - Yeah you're absolutely right there. It's a strange game. In the test series I never felt comfortable about England's batsmen chasing any sort of total and yet in the ODIs where we are usually poor It's looked more comfortable. I think in some ways the OD series reflected the Test series only in reverse. In the test series (apart from the 1st test) England were competitive and certainly were on top at times but could not for whatever reason maintain any control. The same goes for Pakistan in the OD series where they have been in very decent positions and then their batsmen capitulate. Even in today's match they had Eng 4-0 down and were unable to make that all important breakthrough to get nearer to the tail.

  • dummy4fb on February 21, 2012, 10:54 GMT

    even if Pakistan win today the most disappointing thing was that there was no chance given to likes of hammad azam,you cant serve old wine in a old bottle not even the bottle is new(shoaib malik).

  • LastKnight on February 21, 2012, 10:51 GMT

    Umar Akmal coming in at 4 down or 5 down , that's ridiculous.ODI cricket is altogether different world. Oppositions have cut restrict ur run rate as well as to take wickets.You bring Azhar Ali in , straightaway the msg to opposition that they dont have to worry to cut our scoring options, in that case only thing they have to implement is to take wickets.An easier situation . It's not about skills or talent , it's about ur thought process and its implementation that differs in ODIs and TESTS. Pak team are lacking ODI thought processing . Won't win with 11 batsmen and 11 bowlers without mastering ODI demands.

  • Heart_of_Oak on February 21, 2012, 10:27 GMT

    Ahmedfarooq, I think you're being a bit hard on your players when you use words like 'cringe'. I can understand your frustration and disappointment at the results of the ODIs but your test team absolutely hammered us in the tests, showing that our batsmen really struggle against high class spin bowling. So all is not lost for Pakistani cricket, there are many positives for you and all Pakistanis to home in on.

    In a normal enironment, the progress made by Pakistan would be good. But coming so soon after spot fixing scandals, your cricket team has done its nation proud. I could argue you'd have done even better if you'd been able to play in Pakistan.

    Alot of credit has to go to Misbah ul Haq who looks to be a very good captain to me. For England, I am impressed with Steven Finn who is bowling accurately at over 90 miles an hour and is proving hard to score off.

  • irfan0303 on February 21, 2012, 10:20 GMT

    My Favorite team (Hammad Azam, Hafeez, Azhar Ali, Shafeeq, Umer Akmal, Misbah, Shahi Afridi, Adnan Akmal, Saeed Ajmal, Cheema & Wahab Riaz.) Gul should take rest for some time.

  • drdani on February 21, 2012, 10:18 GMT

    @JG2704--totally agree about the pressure thing..before test matches eng had the pressure to prove their superiority while pak just enjoyed being #6..after losing test series eng came out of that pressure n played with open mind resulting in their dominance in odi series...if thats the case, pak will surely enjoy the T20s..also i think pak has every reason to win the last odi because they have nothing to loose.

  • irfan0303 on February 21, 2012, 10:17 GMT

    Imran Farhat must be replaced with Hammad Azam. My Favorite team Hammad Azam, Hafeez, Azhar Ali, Shafeeq, Umer Akmal, Misbah, Shahi Afridi, Adnan Akmal, Saeed Ajmal, Wahab Riaz. Once again My Favorite team ( Hammad Azam, Hafeez, Azhar Ali, Shafeeq, Umer Akmal, Misbah, Shahi Afridi, Adnan Akmal, Saeed Ajmal, Wahab Riaz.) Thank You, Irfan

  • ms.pk_93 on February 21, 2012, 10:10 GMT

    i just hope that PAK wins this one.......i think Abdul-Rehman should play this one....

  • khurramsch on February 21, 2012, 10:10 GMT

    @JG2704 on (February 21 2012, 09:36 AM GMT) : mate i said the same not opposite. i meant tht its not a case of getting use to conditions. odi is diffrent game than tests.so people say tht now england is performing wel as they are getting used to it. but i think its nothing to do with that. in test u can come back in next session. in odi that is not the case & its like now or never. england won as they played better odi cricket. this odi win doent reflect anything about test. & your point about pak taking foot of gass, i think somtimes it happens that when u get hard fought victories in a format u lose other. like last ashes win & the england lost odi 6-1. 1 must admit that england played wel in odi & pak was off colour no batting, no fielding not much bowling from others. you cant win odi with 1 bowler all time.

  • Cricket_Man on February 21, 2012, 10:07 GMT

    Please play HAMMAD AZAM, JUNAID KHAN AND WAHAB RIAZ. WHAT DIFFERENCE WILL WINNING 1 GAME MAKE. LETS TRY OUR YOUNGSTERS AND SEE IF THEY ARE PREPARED FOR THE ASIA CUP WHICH IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER. IF THEY HELP GET US OVER THE VICTORY LINE TODAY IT WILL BE A BIG THING FOR THEM AND THEN ONLY THIS VICTORY WILL BE OF ANY SIGNIFICANCE.

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