Pakistan v England, 3rd Twenty20, Dubai February 26, 2012

Who can provide the strong finish?


Match Facts

Monday, February 27, Abu Dhabi
Start time 2000 (1600 GMT)

The Big Picture

After two whitewashes we now have a series decider following England's slick victory in the second Twenty20 international in Dubai. Twenty20 matches can swing on the smallest of factors, but the intensity and sharpness of England's display on Saturday suggests they are the side finishing stronger.

A series victory will help consolidate England's position at the top of the rankings, although the bigger picture, and it applies to both teams, is putting in place plans for the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka during September and October. Twenty20 internationals are few and far between - three-match series are a new breed in this format - so each game is important towards building a unit.

England learned quickly between the first and second matches in Dubai while Pakistan regressed quite significantly, especially with the bat. Jonny Bairstow showed that England's young players are soaking up their experiences while the incisiveness of the bowling attack is now consistent across all three formats.

Form guide

(Most recent first)
Pakistan LWWWW
England WLWLW

Watch out for...

Hammad Azam showed some spark in the second Twenty20 and while he was cutting loose, in a manner reminiscent of Abdul Razzaq, Pakistan were not out of the match. For a 20-year-old playing his first Twenty20 international innings it was a display of impressive confidence. It might be worth Misbah-ul-Haq giving him a bowl.

Graeme Swann was out-bowled in the Test series by Monty Panesar and often overshadowed by the quicks in the 50-over matches, but he has come into his own in the Twenty20s. His eight overs have brought figures of 5 for 30, which should provide him a nice rankings boost at the end of the series. And he still likes cracking the jokes.

Team news

The form of Shoaib Malik is causing Pakistan problems, which became even more acute when Misbah struggled to score in the second match. The middle order could do with some more kick and it may be worth promoting Azam. Imran Farhat is also in the squad if they decide Awais Zia has proved just too hit and miss.

Pakistan (probable) 1 Mohammad Hafeez, 2 Awais Zia, 3 Asad Shafiq, 4 Umar Akmal (wk), 5 Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), 6 Shoaib Malik, 7 Shahid Afridi, 8 Hammad Azam, 9 Umar Gul, 10 Saeed Ajmal, 11 Aizaz Cheema

With the series on the line England won't be tinkering as they did in the last ODI, which means Tim Bresnan is unlikely to find a place.

England (probable) 1 Kevin Pietersen, 2 Craig Kieswetter (wk), 3 Ravi Bopara, 4 Eoin Morgan, 5 Jonny Bairstow, 6 Jos Buttler, 7 Samit Patel, 8 Stuart Broad (capt), 9 Graeme Swann, 10 Jade Dernbach, 11 Steven Finn

Pitch and conditions

In Dubai a score of around 140-150 proved defendable and the nature of the pitch at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi during the ODIs suggests something similar could be par for this final match. It will be another late finish for fans and players with an 8pm start.

Stats and trivia

  • Pakistan's defeat on Saturday was Misbah's first as captain in a Twenty20

  • In 16 innings on tour (including the warm-up matches) Eoin Morgan has made 190 runs with a top score of 31.


"In this game we won last night, I thought Bairstow's innings was outstanding - very skilful, and very powerful as well. That's a very good combination to have."
Andy Flower offers his praise

Edited by Dustin Silgardo

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on February 27, 2012, 15:47 GMT

    Most likely the team batting first will win it.

  • Dummy4 on February 27, 2012, 15:35 GMT

    misbah ul haq doesnt deserve to be in this side , kick him out of the t20 squad and bring someone like kamran akmal (as a batsman)

  • atlas on February 27, 2012, 15:10 GMT

    does inclusion of @Mian Abdur Rehman Arif. makes sense in cricinfo????

  • Dummy4 on February 27, 2012, 15:10 GMT

    insha 'Allah Pakistan will win

  • SYED YOUSAF ALI on February 27, 2012, 15:00 GMT

    Who evver wins the toss will win because they will bat first and put pressure on the opposing team and defend any total that has been put up. Come on Misbah, lets hope Broad calls incorrectly.

  • sunny on February 27, 2012, 14:30 GMT

    hope pakistan will win this match and grab the series as they have upto No.8 batting including some master blaster if they dont make silly mistakes. Insha allah they will win.

  • Alfred on February 27, 2012, 14:28 GMT

    I definitely believe this is going to be a last over match, this is very interesting. If Peitersen can not play stupidly and stay in for 50+ Runs, England can score upwards of 160+ Runs. But if Peitersen play's the same way he has so far, England (if they bat first) would need to score 140-150 to keep Pakistan under control. It seems on these pitches it is far easier to bat first and then defend. I think the toss winner will surely bat first. So, if Pakistan bat first the need 130-140, if England bat first 140-150. Good Luck! GO ENGLAND

  • John on February 27, 2012, 14:25 GMT

    @vamshi_teamindia, you've jumped on the bandwagon a bit late with that comment. If England don't deserve to be #1 in Tests then how is it that they were so far ahead of the rest that they can lose 0-3 to Pakistan and it will still take a 3-0 win to SA over NZ for England to be knocked off? I'd say that that's rather deserving because you don't get that far ahead by luck. No realistic England fan thinks that this England team can compare to the great WI and Australia teams of the past but they are the top of the current crop. If they learn their lessons from this UAE Test debacle then they won't be overtaken easily.

  • Dummy4 on February 27, 2012, 14:14 GMT

    I think Pakistan is going to lose again with this batting order. Afridi should show some guts and play on the top as opener. Go with the full strength upto # 6, If there is disaster then Misbah and Malik can come out and play the remaining overs. 1) Shahid Afridi 2) Owais Zia 3) Hafeez 4) Azhar Ali 5) Umar AKMAL 6) Hammad Azam 7) Asad Shafiq 8) Misbah 9) Gul 10) Adnan Akmal 11)Saeed Ajmal

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

    I think both Misbah and Malik can do well and can accelerate if required. Recent situations have called for a cautious approach which is what they have done. I would drop Zia and bring Farhat and possibly drop Cheema and bring Rehman. I know we will have only 1 fast bowler but that is all we need. Hafeez,Rehman or Ajmal can open the bowling with Gul. Batting looks good and we need Afridi and Hammad at the end rather than pushing down Misbah or Shoaib Malik down. I hope one of the opener lasts 10 overs as the recent starts have been poor.

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