x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

How it happened: England win by seven wickets

Read the over by over summary of how Pakistan lost another game, this time in the first of two twenty20 internationals in Dubai.

The first stroke of luck is in Pakistan's way! The all-important toss in this batting friendly format has been won by Shoaib Malik and he has, obviously, elected to bat. Over 1: So here we are as Imran Nazir and Imran Farhat come out to start Pakistan's innings. Ryan Sidebottom raps Nazir on the pads straightaway but the ball is going down the leg side. A four off a thick edge and Pakistan are 5-0 Over 2 & 3: A couple of close calls as well as a result of the bowlers bowling into the rib cage of the openers, the board hardly ticks. 8-0 after third over Over 4: Tim Bresnan is taken off after the first over and Stuart Broad comes in to bowl. Frustrated with the bodyline bowling Nazir tries the pull shot but only manages to send it down Joe Denly's way at deep backward square leg. Khalid Latif is in next and it is a wicket maiden over. 8-1 Over 5:Bresnan is back from the other side, probably unhappy with the run-up area from the other end but turns out that it was better the first way as Farhat launches into the first three deliveries for successive fours. However, Farhat for some reason was impatient to get to the other end. After a close call on the fourth ball he is run out on the last ball by a direct throw from Kevin Pietersen from midon. What an eventful over. 20-2 Over 6: Umar Akmal is the next man in but gets a couple of short-pitched ones and is off the mark. 25-2 Over 7: Oh dear, it is not looking good for Pakistan. Latif plays away from the body to new bowler Luke Wright and pays the price with a thick edge back to Matt Prior. 26-3 Over 8: Akmal also lives dangerously. Tries to pull one from outside offstump, top edges it but ball balloons safely back over Prior's head. Akmal is getting the runs coming in though with couple of twos and a cheeky late cut for boundary on the last ball. Healthy over for Pakistan 38-3 Over 9: WICKET And England's good bowling continues. The chirpy Graeme Swann comes on to turn his arm. His canny knack of taking a wicket in his first over works once again. Umar Akmal cuts but the athletic Stuart Broad plucks it out of the air. 39-4 Over 10: Collingwood is leading by example. A superb fielding effort has both batsmen clueless running between the wickets. Over 11 & 12: Apollogies again but we experienced a few technical difficulties. The good update from Pakistan's point of view is that captain Malik is showing that the overs are less but that is no reason to sacrifice genuine cricketing shots. Late glances, a flick for a boundary and Pakistan are 64-4 after 12 Over 13: Pakistan fans briefly had their hearts in their mouths as Fawad Alam flicked a ball off his pads for an effortless hoick. The fielder at midwickets ran back for ten yards upto the boundary line but the shot has just enough strength to sail over. 74-3 Over 14: Malik makes his anxiety shown, tries to pull a Wright delivery from way outside offstump. The top edge landed safely over short fine leg and before deep backward square leg. Malik then makes amends with a classic straight drive, the best shot of the day and a rare sight in T20. The ball nearly took away the umpire. The shot forced the bowler to pitch short and Malik nicely moves forth and flicks it past short fine leg for another four. Super stuff !! 85-4 Over 15: The same sorrow story. After a glimmer of hope, Malik falls. Keen to step up the run rate, the captain plays a pre-mediated shot trying to step out a bit and work the ball onside but manages to spoon it straight to Collingwood standing at the edge of the circl. 89-5 Over 16: Abdul Razzaq spoils Broad's figures by literally swatting him away for a six over midwicket. He tries it again next ball. The ball was in the air for a long time but managed to land safely near square leg. That brings the century up and Pakistan need a lot more to reach beyond the current projected score which is still 124 at this rate. 100-5 Over 17: A tight over by any standards as we approach the death. But short-pitched stuff continues. Razzaq nearly blew his wicket away with another pull shot but Eoin Morgan fails to latch on to a diving catch in the front at midwicket. 105-5 Over 18: Broad comes back strongly by inducing an edge from Alam and Prior makes no mistakes. The TV screen flashes the images of a worried coach Ejaz Ahmed and Boom Boom Afridi. The crowd must be wondering what would have been if he played. But it not over yet, says Razzaq as he gets a boundary of Broad's final delivery. 111-6 Over 19: It is coming apart for the hosts at the neutral venue. Sarfaraz Ahmed, the replacement for wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal, sweeps away Bresnan for four off the first ball but plays an uppish late cut straight to wide third man. Getting out is one thing and giving catch practise is another. As we say this Razzaq's innings comes to a tame end. The ball dies on him and he still tries to 'chip' it over the point fielder. Razzaq read my mind!! 119-8 Over 20: A nice straight drive off the first ball and a late cut down the vacant third man area from Yasir Arafat gives the home fans something to cheer about as Pakistan have stuttered their way to 129-8 in their quota of overs.

And Pakistan start with a slight surprise as Abdul Razzaq starts the bowling instead of the conventional Umar Gul. Over 1: A steady start and Pakistan will be hoping for lot more than that to build up the pressure and get wickets eventually. 3-0 Over 2: Still no Gul. Yasir Arafat comes in from the other end. If this is a strategy to mix up things, full marks for trying. High drama. Jonathan Trott survives a close run out after diving full stretch and making ground after short midwicket fielder catches him by surprise at the non-striker's end. The batsman take a run from the overthrow from Imran Farhat's hit and Joe Denly is OUT playing a bit early next ball. It is Farhat again. 9-1 Game on!! WICKET Razzaq pierces through the defence of Trott. Both openers gone. The ball nipped in to Trott who wasn't expecting it. It seems England weren't expecting him to start the bowling either. Captain Collingwood nearly lost his wicket next ball as an uppish flick leg side fell short of the square leg fielder. 10-2 Over 4: A nice chip straight down the ground by Kevin Pietersen is enough to keep the ball rolling for England. No need to do anything fancy here. 15-2 Over 5: Oh ho, Collingwood is run out. WICKET The captain tries to steal a second run but an accurate throw from Akmal and good receipt from Farhat at the stumps finds him short. Chants of "Pakistan jeetega (Pakistan will win)" start to echo at the stadium. 22-3 Over 6: A sliding Akmal saves a sure boundary at third man. That is the kind of effort that will help Pakistan. Pietersen is still there and England can bat deep. 25-3 Over 7: Now comes the next challenge for Pakistan. Razzaq has started with a tidy three overs with 10 runs and it is upto the middle over bowlers to put their hands up. It is captain Malik next. dear oh dear, he send down a wide and then three more. Then there is a slip-up in the fielding by Saeed Ajmal. Emboldened Pietersen walks across and sweeps Malik to the square leg boundary. Just what Pakistan fans are hoping against. Run rate has shot up but still seven required per over. 39-3 Over 8: Yasir Arafat keeps it tight. Gives away four runs but still finished off his spell nonstop with 4-0-18-1. 43-3 Over 9: It is Saeed Ajmal now. The off-spinner has relished the conditions here in the past along with Afridi. Can he take Pakistan up the next step. Both batsmen are comfortable in the crease though. 47-3 Over 10: It is Umar Gul finally. Straightaway he catches Pietersen by surprise with his pace. There is some away movement and a bye is conceded. The batsmen watch him out. Just three runs off the over. 50-3 Over 11: After Malik conceded 14 from his over, the fifth bowler is a worry. But for now, it is Ajmal. The off-spinner bowls a wrong one for a close call on Morgan. How Pakistan would have love to have the referral system here. 55-3 Over 12: Morgan steps out to disturb Gul's rhythm and manages to get four leg byes as the bowler strays down the leg side. It is difficult but wicketkeeper Safaraz is late to react as the ball runs away for four. SIX A short one from Gul to end the over. Morgan effortfless flicks it uppishly and the ball lands past even the deep fine leg. 68-3 Over 13: Malik plays the daredevil, brings him back on. A wretched move. After milking him for ones and twos, Pietersen effortlessly flicks a fuller delivery past the short midwicket for a boundary 78-3 Over 14: Last roll of dice? Razzaq is back in the hope of getting a wicket but Morgan launches in to a counter-attack. Three effortless boundaries off his pads and a couple and Razzaq has blown all his hard work till now. 92-3 Over 15: Ajmal starts with a wide. Remember, the fifth bowler Malik has bowled only two overs. The batsmen are seeing the ball as big as a football and keeping the board ticking nicely. Six from the over. 98-3 Over 16: Magnificent Morgan is toying with Pakistan. Umar Gul bowls slightly short and he pulls him over the midwicket. Gul then bowls a full length one and he shows him the elbow with a straight boundary over his head. The hundred was crossed in style and a dispirited Imran Nazir misfields to concede an extra run. 109-3 Over 17: Comedy of errors. Morgan reverse sweeps Malik to steal a quick single. The fielder at short third man misfields, Pietersen coming running back all the way for second but Morgan has gone way down the pitch in his follow through. Pietersen persists (needlessly and foolish) and Morgan runs double the pitch length and makes it by couple of inches. England need only 17 from 18 balls. 113-3 Over 18: Batsmen are calmly dropping the ball with soft hands and running singles. An agitated Ajmal fires in one with the pace of a medium pacer, a painful blow to wicketkeeper Sarfaraz. A dot ball to end the over also means 14 needed from 12 balls. 116-3 Over 19: Gul comes over for his final over from the other end and his pace is only fodder for the set batsmen. An uppish square cut by Morgan over the point fielder's head for FOUR, a flick off his pads for FOUR down square leg and pull for SIX in the same region. Three balls and the death is swift for Pakistan. It is all over. England finish off in style. 130-3 in 18.3 overs They must be wondering what they need to do to stem the rot. A change in captaincy, a different coach, even if it is part time for now in Ejaz Ahmed, nothing seems to work. It is being suggested that there is infighting in the camp. But judging from the effort in the field, at least in the beginning when the players set out to defend the low total, it looks unlikely. To taking away from the English batsmen, Pietersen and Morgan played brilliantly. Just the perfect way to approach a Twenty20 game. Mind you this was also the best partnership for the fourth wicket for England, 112 from 86 balls to be exact.