England v Pakistan, 2nd Twenty20, Dubai February 20, 2010

Captains laud Razzaq onslaught


Spectacular scoring feats aren't exactly a novelty in Twenty20 cricket, but both England's captain, Paul Collingwood, and his opposite number, Shoaib Malik, had to concede that Abdul Razzaq's ferocious late onslaught in the second Twenty20 in Dubai had taken the breath away. From an uncompromising position of 78 for 5 after 13 overs, Razzaq turned the contest on its head with a brilliant unbeaten 46 from 18 balls, including five sweetly struck sixes that left no room for equivocation.

"There's no shame in losing like that," said Collingwood. "We're disappointed because we've lost, but sometimes players play innings that deserve to win the game for their country. [Razzaq] put his heart into the innings and struck the ball cleanly from ball one, and sometimes there's not a lot you can do as a fielding unit to stop a guy like that."

Malik, for his part, used the word "awesome" on at least six separate occasions to sum up an innings that ended Pakistan's ignominious run of 10 defeats in a row, in all formats, that stretches back to their tour of New Zealand before Christmas. "We needed this performance before the T20 World Cup, because we were struggling before these two matches," he said. "The way our boys played was awesome to see, and his hitting was absolutely clean and marvellous. He's one of the best players in our team."

"When I went to the crease I was very confident," said Razzaq, who shared in a match-turning stand of 48 in four overs with Fawad Alam. "I was telling Fawad we should win this one. I was saying 'you can, you will' and we did. The team needed that, to hit the ball hard. Thankfully I hit, I think, five sixes because the team needed that to get victory."

England now head off to Bangladesh for three ODIs and two Tests, meaning that the Twenty20 format will be put on the back-burner until the squad reconvenes in the Caribbean for the World Twenty20. With consecutive shared series against South Africa in November and now Pakistan in February, Collingwood is confident that they are ready to put on a decent performance in April and May, starting with a tricky group that includes Ireland and West Indies.

"We've done some great stuff, and there's a lot of positives to take out of the game," he said. "Kevin Pietersen looked at his best again, which is crucial for England, and we've done some fantastic stuff in the last few games so the boys should be very proud. They've been working on their skills and we feel we are moving forward in this format of the game, but it just took that last five or six overs for one batsman to turn it around, and you take your hat off to him. It was pure hitting and it was very hard to bowl at him."

One man who bore the brunt of Razzaq's onslaught was England's debutant, Ajmal Shahzad, who had a night to remember, for all manner of reasons. His first over was the stuff of schoolboy dreams, as he rebounded from a first-ball boundary to scalp both of Pakistan's openers in the space of three balls, but the denouement was disappointing, as Razzaq smoked him into the stands for two match-sealing sixes.

"He's come in against the world's best Twenty side, and it's not easy when you're bowling against guys like that," said Collingwood. "But he's got the talent, he's certainly got the pace, and also the aggression to go with it. When you've got a combination like that you learn all the time, and he'll learn a hell of a lot from this experience tonight. I know he enjoyed it, which is a good thing. He certainly didn't shy away from it, and he's got all the attributes."

Joe Denly, on the other hand, is looking like a man in need of a break from the front line, after adding a torturous 5 from 10 balls to a Twenty20 tally that now reads 20 runs in five innings. With Somerset's hard-hitting Craig Kieswetter now competing for a place in the ODIs in Bangladesh, it's highly possible that England will have themselves another new opening combination in place by the time the World Twenty20 gets underway.

"I'm sure he's disappointed with his form," said Collingwood, when asked about Denly. "We've seen what he can do in county cricket, and his domestic record is very good. Batting at the top of the order is a confidence thing, and [he needs] one innings when he gets it away, to get the ball rolling. But Joe is a three-dimensional cricketer. He bowls useful legspin, and he's a great lad to have in the dressing room. Let's hope his form turns around."

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ATI on February 23, 2010, 1:07 GMT

    one of the best t20 innings ever.... i suggest this line up for pak in t20 wc

    1.imran nazir 2.kamran akmal 3.umar akmal 4.shoib malik 5.misbah ul haq 6.fawad alam 7.shahid afridi 8.abdul razzak 9.mohd aamer/umar gul 10.mohd asif 11.saeed ajmal

  • Zohaib on February 22, 2010, 18:58 GMT

    Salam and greetings to all, im a die hard pakistani cricket fan nd like all fans i want pakistan team to win all the matches.... when talking about squads what hurts me the most is like good cricketing brains nd experince players like abdul qadir and iqbal qasim choose players like Yasir Arafat & Rana Naved ul Hasan over ABDUL RAZZAQ well dis innnigs was just the best reply RAZZAQ cudve come up with.... Plus players like Shoaib Malik have been given numerouis chances the whole year and the last one aswell and excpet for the hundrerd against India he has not been able to prove his worth....plus i belive Pakistan bowling line up needs a fast spark which can only be provided by SHOAIB AKHTAR look what tait has done to aussie t20 team.... were loosing neways.... so why not try out SHOAIB AKHTAR.....atleast hes a true match winner

  • rahul on February 22, 2010, 16:50 GMT

    Atlast a win for the Pakis... They are such a talented side, but they are mixing a lot of politics in their cricket... Wish them all the best for the future....

  • shohag on February 22, 2010, 10:39 GMT

    pakistan cricket team can be like this for t20. squad:1. imran nazir 2. Kamran akmal 3. shoaib malik 4. umar akmal 5. shaid afridi 6. abdul razzaq 7. fawad alam/ yasir arafat/ rana naveed ul hasan 8. umar gul 9. mahammad aamer 10. mahammad asif 11. saeed ajmal. if pafistan will make a team like this we hope pakistan will bring the next t20 world cup again.

  • Sellva on February 22, 2010, 9:49 GMT

    Abdul Razzaq is a gifted player for Pakistan.He is having leadership quality. Then it is for the pakistan to decide what to do with him - R.Sellva,Coimbatore.

  • Abhay on February 22, 2010, 9:27 GMT

    If there is so much talent as Razzak showed why are they losing so miserably? Its just bcoz of politics from PCB and hopeless and selfish people like Yousuf around. Some talented ex cricketer should take over the PCB chief position and Butt and Yousuf should be send to Antartica where they should play chairman and captain games with polar bears.

  • Zeeshan on February 22, 2010, 9:19 GMT

    The first time i saw razzaq playing he is my favourite player from that time there were many other famous ppl like bt no one cn take place of razzaq razzaq rocks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • ALI on February 22, 2010, 7:01 GMT

    I was previlleged to see the knock live. I mean those five sixes were huge and the passion which he showed after hitting the final six was wonderful. I agree its a slap on the faces of those selectors who thinks he is not good enough to be in the side.

  • Hamayun on February 22, 2010, 6:24 GMT

    He is simply beauty of International cricket "ABDUL RAZZAQ"

  • Dummy4 on February 22, 2010, 4:29 GMT

    Abdul Razzaq is a Match Winner. The team was looking for him in the Sydney Test as know one had a clue how to win the test they had already won. They ended up losing it. The selectors have had him out for a while. Actually no one can measure up the talent and depth the team has had. Razzaq 5 sixes at the death overs is like a something Misbah wanted to achieve in the first T20 final against India and faulted on the last six. This is fairy tale cricket and it happens with Pakistan Cricket Only. Cricketers good luck in the next T20 World Cup. I liked the six he hit on the slower ball ! This is where the team can make a difference.

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