DUBAI // Shoaib Malik, the outgoing Pakistan captain, says confidence has been restored within his bedraggled side, ahead of their World Twenty20 defence in May, following their extraordinary triumph over England last night. Pakistan's sorry run of results seemed certain to continue when they were 78 for five with just seven overs left, only for a sublime knock from Abdul Razzaq to see them home and level the two-match series. Razzaq hit five sixes in his unbeaten 46 from 18 balls, and sealed the four-wicket win with a maximum.
Malik said: "We needed this performance before the World Cup. We had been struggling before these two matches, but this was awesome. Every victory gives you confidence. Razzaq's hitting was marvellously clean. He is one of the best players in our team, and it was just what I expected from him." Paul Collingwood, the England captain, said: "There is no shame in losing like that. Over the two matches our performance has been good.
"It only takes one batsman to put in an exceptional performance in a Twenty20 match, and that is exactly what they had. It was pure hitting. "Sometimes there is no shame in being beaten. He put his heart into that innings and struck it well from ball one. "There's obviously things we need to improve on before the T20 World Cup - we know that for a fact." One area of concern that England are already looking to resolve is the top of the order, having summoned Craig Kieswetter into the one-day squad for the tour of Bangladesh.
The young Somerset wicketkeeper batsman impressed as the second string Lions beat the senior side in Abu Dhabi earlier in the week. Collingwood added: "He's opened everybody's eyes and he deserves his chance." firstname.lastname@example.org