Pakistan v England, 3rd Twenty20, Abu Dhabi February 27, 2012

England seal series in thriller


England 129 for 6 (Pietersen 62*, Ajmal 4-23) beat Pakistan 124 for 6 (Shafiq 34) by five runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

England produced world-class death bowling coupled with moments of brilliance in the field to snatch a five-run victory in the deciding Twenty20 against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi and seal the series 2-1. With Misbah-ul-Haq and Umar Akmal together, needing 35 off the last five overs, Pakistan were in control but Stuart Broad and Jade Dernbach showed nerves of steel to finish the tour on a high.

Broad bowled the 16th and 19th overs which cost just four runs apiece and that included a misfield by Jonny Bairstow at long-on in the penultimate over which gave away a boundary. Broad removed Akmal, who skied a catch to long-off after missing the first two balls of the 19th over, and Bairstow redeemed himself in the last with a powerful throw to Craig Kieswetter which found Shahid Afridi short of his crease.

Dernbach, who bowled the 17th over for six runs, was left with 13 to play with for the last and was in control except when a slower ball looped out short to be called wide. That left Pakistan needing eight off three deliveries but Hammad Azam and Misbah could only muster two singles before a trademark slower ball from Dernbach castled Misbah and set of wild celebrations from the bowler.

The series win, a notable result for Broad who is still in his infancy as a captain, will give the England squad a significant surge of confidence ahead of their title defence at the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka. Their remaining T20s before that tournament are all at home, so success in conditions similar - if not identical - to Sri Lanka will have provided a wealth of knowledge especially for the younger players.

Misbah, meanwhile, could well face further criticism after ending with 28 off 32 balls but it should have been the anchor innings to guide his side home. Only in the final four overs did the asking rate hit eight-an-over and some of Akmal's wild heaves to leg didn't show very clear thinking. It had been difficult to hit boundaries all evening - the match produced 15 fours and three sixes - and huge credit must go to England's bowlers and fielders. Graeme Swann built pressure for the quicks with a guileful spell and Jos Buttler, having endured a poor series with the bat, manufactured a wicket with a flat throw that was superbly collected by Kieswetter to remove the well-set Asad Shafiq.

It is a fine line batsmen tread in Twenty20. For the failure of Misbah to get his side across the line there is the success of Kevin Pietersen after his unbeaten 62, made from a sedate 52 balls, gave England a defendable total. It was clear early on that this wasn't a 150 pitch and Pietersen judged it was better to stay until the end than aim too high. Samit Patel contributed a spritely 16 and Pietersen finished the innings with a last-ball six off Aizaz Cheema which ultimately proved the difference.

What Eoin Morgan would give for some of Pietersen's end-of-tour form. His last innings of the trip was a tortured affair, as many of the 16 before this one had also been. He chipped short of long-off against Afridi on 6 and should have been stumped on 8 as Akmal added another error to a long list. But this one didn't prove costly although Morgan was left cursing a team-mate rather than himself. Pietersen drove firmly to cover, where Misbah fumbled, and didn't adhere to the adage of "don't run on a misfield", leaving Morgan stuffed when he changed his mind again.

Bairstow couldn't repeat his showing from two days ago as he misjudged the length against Saeed Ajmal, who claimed 4 for 23, and England's other young middle-order batsman, Buttler, had another tough innings. He scored four runs off the nine combined deliveries he faced from Ajmal and Afridi and was then given lbw against Ajmal playing a sweep that left him on his knees in the crease. This tour hasn't launched Buttler's international career as it appeared it could do but he can still make the World Twenty20.

Crucially, however, Umar Gul had a poor day. Trying to react to Pietersen's movement in the crease, he conceded five wides down the leg side and, in his final over, sprayed another wide outside off stump with Pietersen proceeding to hit the seventh ball to the midwicket boundary. That's all it takes to change a tight Twenty20.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • I on March 1, 2012, 23:05 GMT

    @Raymond Oliver : Hilarious. Does telling yourself that story really change the result of the test series? Not like Rehman made a fool of the entire England lineup or anything...oh, wait. Say what you like, results won't change. Pakistan won the tests, England took the limited-over matches. I know which result I prefer, if you're satisfied with England's performance on this tour, then more power to you. When it comes real cricket, England got BEAT DOWN

  • Tanvier on March 1, 2012, 9:24 GMT

    Bring back Imran Nazir.. he is a big match player.. T20 finals against india, ICL finals and now BPL finals.. He is like sehwag, warner or gayle.. not consistent..but when he goes going - can rip off any attack

  • f on February 29, 2012, 20:21 GMT

    Misbah its mental torture to see your batting in ODI and T20's. Other teams now realize the fact that if they let Misbah play till the end of innings then automatically they will win the match as he is POOREST FINISHER of the game. Misbah you don't deserve any place in ODI and T20 not only as a captain but also as a player. Misbah who can forget your T20 WC final (2007) stupid shot that cost us the WC and also your 2011 WC semifinal innings when you played 42 DOT Balls. And now again you cost us this decider series. Misbah you are a crunch match CHOKER and will always be.

  • John on February 29, 2012, 19:19 GMT

    What a shame that some of the recent posters have resorted to gloating and sniping. Truth is England underperformed with the bat big time in the test matches. Pakistan probably underperformed with the bat in the ODIs and both teams had magic and woeful moments in the T20s.It doesn't matter what would happen if Pakistan played a test series in England , they played the series in conditions which were good for them just like England and Australia would play on pitches which would suit them better.

  • John on February 29, 2012, 19:09 GMT

    @GreenTeam-Elite on (February 27 2012, 21:37 PM GMT) Thanks for the decent comms - both on this and throughout the tour. Now we don't have to play each other I hope that your team can build on the test whitewash and climb those rankings

  • John on February 29, 2012, 19:09 GMT

    @Raju Rajput on (February 27 2012, 20:59 PM GMT) To be honest as an England fan I feel we should have chased 35 off 5 in the 1st match Truth is in the ODI matches and T20 matches England won it was a combination of England better/Pakistan worse. The reverse is the case in the tests. It's natural to criticise one's own team when they lose.

  • John on February 29, 2012, 19:09 GMT

    @Fawad Rehan on (February 29 2012, 07:41 AM GMT)re "I think all the English fans, trying to prove that it was Ajmal or the DRS that was the reason for 3-0 test whitewash" What ARE you on about.? When England lost the test series to Pakistan we were lambasting our own players and giving credit to Pakistan. There may have been one or 2 comms when there was a thread on Ajmal's action but at the end of the series no one was mentioning it. DRS is the same for both sides and Pakistan used it well. What's the point in bringing yesteryear's stats up? Also this was a thread on the ODIs. Maybe you should actually find some comms where English fans are saying these things rather than "think" these things up?

  • Jonny on February 29, 2012, 12:47 GMT

    Why are all the Pakistani fans so quick to turn inwards. The reason Eng won this game is that they have a far, far better attack. The batting is relativley similar, but PAK missed a trick not picking Rehman, which consequently made their attack comparitivley weaker than England's. Misbah had a bad game but the reception he has got on these threads seems unjustified. As an ENG fan it does worry me how many of our players look against the turning ball. Surely IND and SRI will produce bunsens and we will struggle again. England need to take the Aussie approach and get down the track. It is so rare that we have ever seen an ENG player who can sweep well and if you don't use your feet either, then realistically you can only score of a rank bad ball. Against the spinners you need to create your own scoring areas and I don't think we do this well enough. If you watch the footwork of the Sri Lankans and Indians you see how well they use the crease. We need to start using our feet. And quick

  • Dummy4 on February 29, 2012, 7:41 GMT

    I think all the English fans, trying to prove that it was Ajmal or the DRS that was the reason for 3-0 test whitewash, should recall the visit of a similar high-flying Ashes-winning English team, which came to Pakistan in 2005. That time, it was neither a spinner nor DRS to be accused of their defeat. It was Shoaib Akhtar who bamboozled them at that time. And after facing & handling Aussie quicks in previous tour, they failed to handle Shoaib in Pakistan's slow, low tracks. Result = Eng narrowly escaped whitewash; 2-0 to Pak.

  • darius on February 29, 2012, 4:56 GMT

    @Raymond Oliver very well said man but there is also the other way round.very similarly u guys also cannot become world champs as u play on one dimensional fast pitches that is the reason u guys are not able to cope with the spinning ball in the i right.u just came out of ur den and u lose it 3-0 to Pakistan.isnt that a relevant proof.i shud say Pak played English brand of oneday cricket rather u guys played well

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