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ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the 4th ODI between Pakistan and England in Dubai
George Dobell in Dubai
February 21, 2012
Moment of the day
Kevin Pietersen had been batting beautifully. In reaching his second successive century he timed the ball remarkably crisply. But, when he had 80 and England required 85 more runs to win, he attempted a scoop shot over the wicketkeeper off Abdur Rehman only to miss the ball and be adjudged lbw. He immediately called for a review and was reprieved when it was shown he had been struck outside the line. DRS may not have won over everyone just yet, but on this occasion, it averted an error that could well have defined the match.
Wicket of the day
At first glance, the shot that brought Umar Akmal's dismissal seemed thoughtless, to say the least. Maybe at second glance, too. Skipping down the pitch he lofted his drive straight into the hands of long-off to present Danny Briggs with his first ODI wicket. There was some context, however. Pakistan has just gone 50 balls without a boundary and Azhar Ali - who reached 43 from 59 balls but took another 30 to score his next 15 - had become horribly bogged down. Akmal, concerned about his team's slow progress and frustrated by a tight spell of bowling, eventually buckled under the pressure, but the sedate scoring of his colleague played a part in his demise.
Catch of the day
There were just 23 deliveries left in the Pakistan innings when Shahid Afridi launched into a pull stroke only to see Tim Bresnan run in from deep midwicket and judge a tricky, low catch to perfection. It ended any chance Pakistan had of pushing their total up above 250 - a benchmark they have only reached three times in their last 29 ODIs - and encapsulated another decent fielding performance from England.
Contrast of the day
Abdur Rehman was offered a similar chance in the England innings. Pietersen already had his century when he swung a short ball from Junaid Khan towards deep midwicket where Rehman, clearly unsure whether to go for the catch, reacted just a little late and was then forced into an optimistic dive. Not only did he miss the catch, he was unable to prevent the ball going for four. It was a moment that defined the key difference between these sides: while England are a strong fielding side, Pakistan, by the high standards of modern ODI cricket, are quite wretched.
Entry of the day
Short of offering a free bar, it's hard to impress a room full of journalists. They are, on the whole, a pretty jaded bunch. The arrival of Sheikh Nahyan at an ODI in Abu Dhabi the other day barely merited a turned head. But Imran Khan seems to transcend any sort of world-weariness. The excited reaction to his arrival in the press box in Dubai was remarkable to see: a crowd gathered, cameras flashed, usually hardened journalists were transformed into schoolgirls catching a glimpse of their favourite pop star. Not many men inspire such enthusiasm. Imran was in Dubai to host a fundraising dinner for the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and its research centre in Lahore. He is somewhat removed from the world of cricket these days, but did offer the opinion that Misbah-ul-Haq should bat higher up the order in limited-overs cricket.
Review of the day
Misbah was far from certain whether to call for a review of the lbw shout against Alastair Cook. While Junaid Khan was adamant that Cook would be given out, Misbah shrugged and prevaricated before, eventually and reluctantly, gambling with his only review. He was glad he did: Cook, in the ODI form of his life in this series to date, was shown to be plumb in front and Pakistan had taken a key wicket.
Departure of the day
The scorebook will show that Jos Buttler experienced an unhappy ODI debut: caught at short leg without scoring. But Buttler did emerge with some credit. He was dismissed by just his second ball on his ODI debut. And he walked. Yes, he would almost certainly have been given out anyway and yes, Pakistan could have used a review had he not been. But, in the spur of the moment and amid all the emotion and disappointment, Buttler walked. How many would have done that? Buttler will not take much pleasure in his debut, but he can take some pride.
Edited by Alan Gardner
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: George Dobell
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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Plays of the day from the IPL match between Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab in Abu Dhabi