Pakistan v England, 2nd Twenty20, Dubai February 25, 2012

Bairstow sets up series-levelling victory


England 150 for 7 (Bairstow 60*) beat Pakistan 112 (Finn 3-30) by 38 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Jonny Bairstow revived memories of his brilliant England one-day debut with a maiden international fifty to set up a resounding 38-run victory against Pakistan under the Dubai floodlights and level the Twenty20 series at 1-1 with one to play.

Bairstow's 41 from 21 balls against India in Cardiff on a rainy night last September identified him as a one-day cricketer of immense promise but it had remained his highest score in eight innings in ODIs and T20s as England awaited confirmation that he could follow up his flash of brilliance by proving that, at 22, he was ready for the international stage.

Slow Asian pitches have forced some self-analysis for Bairstow but the Yorkshireman indicated it had been time well spent as he came alive against a high-class Pakistan attack. If Cardiff had brought excitement, Dubai, with the ring of fire blazing down, confirmed that it was not misplaced. An immensely watchable series will be decided in Abu Dhabi on Monday.

A dead surface made it a demanding night for batting and Pakistan, who had successfully defended 144 for 6 on the same ground two days earlier, floundered against one of the most skilful and intelligent England T20 bowling displays of recent memory. They never got close, even if while Shahid Afridi is around a distant target is seen as if through binoculars. Afridi was last out for 25, hacking Stuart Broad into the offside, kept off strike so successfully that he faced only 23 balls of the 58 delivered while he was at the crease.

Pakistan lost half their side for 50 by the ninth over, leaving their captain, Misbah-ul-Haq, to try to remedy a situation that he is not really designed to address. In both matches, slower balls have not as much deceived him as stripped him bare. He has done much to stabilise Pakistan in Test cricket, but the argument for a new one-day captain is a persuasive one. Bairstow had a say in his dismissal, too, a brilliant diving catch at long-on as Misbah charged at Graeme Swann.

Consolation for Pakistan came in the promise of Hammad Azam. Misbah has yet to allow him a bowl in this series, which is short-termism at its worst with World Twenty20 approaching, but even at more than 10 an over he posed a threat until a steepling blow was held at long-on by Jos Buttler, who had been off the field with an injured hand sustained when he dropped Umar Akmal at short midwicket, and who in one moment proved his fitness.

But the night belonged to Bairstow. Against an excellent Pakistan attack, his unbeaten 60 from 46 balls were runs well earned. He is that rare commodity for England, a power hitter, and after he squirted Umar Gul into the leg side to secure his half-century four balls from the end of the innings, he emphasised the fact it by slapping a slow ball from Gul, a shot he did not really middle, over long-on for six.

He was determined to provide impetus from the outset. A flat six into the sightscreen bolstered his confidence; in his examination by Pakistan's spinners, he had at least gained pass marks on the subject of Afridi's googly. His most exceptional stroke, though, was reserved for Saeed Ajmal with slick footwork to make room followed by a regal off drive. There were muscular sweeps against the spinners and there was fun, too, as he grinned at Ajmal after daring a reverse sweep. He relishes a challenge and it will serve him well.

For another England batsman, life is not so grand. Eoin Morgan's tortured tour continued. He has yet to manage a half-century and, although he briefly hinted at better with two successive cover boundaries against Gul, he poked forward to Mohammad Hafeez and was lbw. He should have been lbw the previous ball, when he was defeated on the cut, but the umpire Ahsan Raza, unsure whether the ball had hit bat before pad, gave him the benefit of the doubt. Morgan insists that playing spin is a strength of his game, but the evidence that he is deluding himself is irrefutable.

When Craig Kieswetter, who had looked more threatening than at any time on tour, holed out at long-off for 31, with four wickets lost by the 10th over, England split their two greenhorns, Bairstow and Buttler, with Samit Patel, himself a veteran of only seven Twenty20s but more proven in these conditions and with a solid T20 record at Nottinghamshire behind him. Patel's run out, eschewing a dive to the crease as Ajmal hit direct with a throw from long leg will not find favour with England's management. It was careless from a player whose athleticism is forever in focus and whose fielding has shown signs of improvement.

Gul at the death - predominantly bowling yorkers with a hint of reverse swing - was again excellent and it did nothing for the reputation of Buttler's trademark shot, the step to leg and horizontal-bat shovel over his left shoulder. As Gul hit the stumps with a low full toss, the shot had got Buttler out on two successive occasions.

England again exposed the fragility of Pakistan's batting line-up and this time they did it with the aid of excellent catches. Hafeez made nought as a tall fast bowler, Steve Finn, was backed up by a tall first slip, Kevin Pietersen, who had received a rare invitation to the catching cordon. Jade Dernbach's reflexes were in good order, too, as he held Asad Shafiq's return drive and Morgan's catch was the best of the lot, intercepted at backward point to silence the dangerous Akmal.

But nothing was more impressive than the way they unravelled Awais Zia, mini Boom Boom, who had briefly flared in the first Twenty20. Zia faced 12 balls and managed only one scoring shot - a straight, length ball from Finn, just the delivery he feasts upon, which he clobbered over midwicket for six.

That apart, his limitations as a legside hitter were intelligently exposed as England nullified him with width and changes of pace. It is doubtful whether he has ever gone so many balls without scoring in his life. His last shot, which fell to Dernbach at mid-off, told of his desperation. It will be intriguing to see how he responds.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Satish on February 27, 2012, 14:01 GMT

    This is to the PCB and all the Pasktani cricket lovers Dear Chairman

    Please change the captaincy for ODI and T20 Misbah is not good enough for these format but a effective captain for Tests.

    13 runs from 24 balls in T20 really sucks... and the way he was out too was embarrassing for any Pakistani cricket fan....

  • Danish on February 27, 2012, 9:51 GMT

    @saintsinister bro.i dont agree with everything u said but i do agree with most of it.the comparison of misbah's batting with Jason gillespie's is funny.made me laugh.but sadly,it looks like it true.i agree that misbah needs to be removed from the odi team and the t20 team.not in favour of removing asad shafiq though.umar akmal needs to be rested for a year or something.he is such an immense talent that he'll always come back in the team.I still wanna see more of asad shafiq though.i think he should be there in the team for now.the problem is always with the batting lineup though.players like m.hafeez cant cope with stuff when it comes to the thing called "Technique".i dont even like Azhar Ali's technique but he wants to score a lot atleast.pakistan need openers,and i refuse to accept that in this country of magically talented cricketers,there arent any openers that are world class.Imran farhar,hafeez,taufeeq,,all these need to be "Rested".

  • Izzat on February 27, 2012, 7:47 GMT

    Pakistan cricket team has always surprised world with young and exiting talent in ODI's & T20's. Point once again proven that it is still the case seeing Hamad Azam so why current management & captain is more inclined to relying on experience more & more. I am totally for the captain but this pint only at least for T20's & request him that don't mistrust your youth especially this boy Hamad Azam use him properly as he deserves to be. More than 1 year on sidelines can destroy the young lad even last innings he looked frustrated

  • Dummy4 on February 27, 2012, 5:49 GMT

    Misbah ate to many delieveries everytime and Pakistan looses every match becoz of his sleeping nature

  • Dummy4 on February 27, 2012, 5:21 GMT

    dots balls maximum by Misbhah ul haq the captain he consumes a lot he always sleep till the match is lost.

  • Saeed on February 26, 2012, 23:03 GMT

    Someone should try to sponsor Mohammed Amir; this very talented young man so that he can further his studies while waiting to play again. This will give him renewed confidence in himself as a human being. Also, His ban on cricket does not mean he cannot play another sport like Base ball, Lawn tennis, Squash etc; this will certainly keep him fit in the meantime. Who knows maybe he can become a star in one of these sports. You cant wait to live life; you must do so now with the opportunities/possibilities that are before u Now!!! Covey the wise, once said that ...'the past is history, the future is a mistery, the present is a gift; use it wisely'.

  • Saeed on February 26, 2012, 22:36 GMT

    Given its own batting problems( Lack of experience NOT Talent - New players will take time to get Expperience)-Pak must find a way to reduce England's Score; perhaps try rehman who was the most Economical ODI Bowler for Pak in the ODI Series; He can pobably save Pak 15 Runs making a target 135 instead of 150. in fact in last ODI he was better than the 10 other bowlers on both sides. I would consider switching ZIA with Afridi. Afridi has lost his MOJO as a dependable Slogger. He also scores more runs, plays more responsible when he bats earlier in the innings. Misbah is doing a fine job in all formats-record speaks for itself-He is doing extremely well against the NO. 1 T-20 Team in World.

  • Zuhaib on February 26, 2012, 21:48 GMT

    MISBAH is not a perfect captain for limited overs coz his approach is very defensive & this defencive approach cant win matches now a days,thats why PAK team mostly fail to score 250 on is very fast now a days & PAK need an attacking approach in all department specially in ODIs & t20...hardly 1 or 2 attacking batsman in ODIs squad & tail is too long coz our bowlers as well as our wicket keeper too dont know how to bat...defensive approach of captain,long tail,no advantage of power plays,poor w.k batsman & poor fielding r the main factors of poor performance of PAK team in ODIs specially against strong sides...need lots of improvement in every department specially in squad selection...AFRIDI should be appointed as ODI & t20 captain & replace old & fail guns such as MISBAH,YOUNUS,FARHAT,ADNAN,MALIK,CHEEMA etc to young & specialized guns like SHEHZAD,JAMSHED,KAMRAN,SAMI,RAMEEZ,RAZZAK etc...

  • P on February 26, 2012, 19:24 GMT

    It is very clear that Misbah must be out of ODI and T20 side.There is no there 38 years old player in any cricket team playing at age 38 who is playing ODI\ T20.With his age, pathetic low strike rate he don't deserve even to be in the team in limited over version of the game. One recent and big example is E. COOK who have played so well in ODI series in UAE but he was not even selected as a player in T20.Englane has 3 different captain for 3 formats, look around, u will see most of the team in the world have different captain and at least 5 to 6 different players in ODI and T20.Players like Misbah, Malik, Farhat, Adnan, Azhar Ali etc don't belong to ODI and T20. Player like Owais Zia is not internal level class, just by blind swinging don't make u ''BOOM BOOM'' or good player. He don't have any thing else except swinging on eevry bowl towards mid wicket.Young and talented players like Nasir Jamshad, Shazaib Hassan, Sarfraz Ahmed, Hammad should be in ODI\T20, AFRID SHOULD BE THE CAPTAIN

  • John on February 26, 2012, 18:05 GMT

    @billbowden311 on (February 25 2012, 21:43 PM GMT) Strange post on the whole but what are you mentioning Broad for as not leading by example. He bowled outstandingly in the tests , ODIs and the T20s - even though he is only captain in the T20s - and even scored a 50 in the low scoring test series. He is primarily a bowler may I remind you. Also re Dhoni - I like the guy - but he's not exactly coming out with flying colours when captaining the side in Australia - that's when he's not banned for a slow over rate , great example that is.

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