Dubai: England defeated Pakistan by 9 wickets to lead the 4-match series by 3-0. Kevin Pietersen who wasn’t in good form clicked & scored unbeaten 111 runs.
For the first time in the series, Pakistani captain Misbah-ul-Haq won the toss & decided to bat first. The same story repeated itself, openers didn’t get a good start, Imran Farhat (9) was the first-one to go in same fashion, the ball was moving away and Imran tried to play away from his body, got an outside edge & keeper behind the stumps did the rest.
Azhar Ali (5) who played a key role in Pakistan’s success during test series & also played good in the last match here threw his wicket to Braod, he was also caught behind.
Mohammad Hafeez (29) after getting a good start once again got lbw out at the ball of Finn, he tried to play the in-dipper across the line & paid the price.
In the next over, Pakistan lost its captain Misbah-ul-Haq (1), it was a length ball by Broad, moving slightly away from the off-stump, skipper tried to push it & produced a thick edge which went straight into the hands of Swann who was standing at 1st slip.
The score of Pakistan was 50/4 in 10.4 overs. Asad Shafiq who was in place of ill Younis Khan tried to make a partnership with Umar Akmal. England’s captain then brought his spinners & spread the field a bit, commentators criticized Cook for allowing free singles to batsmen.
In this short period when spinners were operating both batsmen looked calm & good enough to negotiate the England bowlers.
Pakistan received a shock when Asad Shafiq (18) got run-out in 22nd over after making a partnership of 47 runs, it was tough one for the 3rd umpire Dharmasena because the toe-end of the bat was in the air when he dived in the crease & bails were taken off but the mid part of the bat was grounded & was well enough to convince the tv umpire. But he made his decision against Asad & hence Pakistan lost its 5th wicket at 97.
BOOM BOOM Afridi was the next batsman, a sensible & mature innings was required from him. A couple of overs later, Kieswetter dropped Umar Akmal (who was playing at 28) at the ball of Broad.
After this incident, both batsmen played gently, the patience of Afridi was quite impressive, after taking singles & doubles in couple of overs, he first inaugurated Bopara with a FOUR & then jugged Swann for SIX at the 1st ball of 30th over.
In the last & 3rd powerplay, Pakistan continued to score runs but in a decent way, both batsmen put teams responsibility ahead of their personal achievements & desires. Umar Akmal reached his 50 (off 88 balls & 1 FOUR) in 39th over, probably the slowest fifty of his career.
In the next over, Shahid Afridi also reached to his 50 landmark, he took 52 balls to reach there. Just when both batsman were looking good, Broad bought a breakthrough for England, Umar Akmal (50) tried to clip the full length delivery to midwicket area but credit goes to Samit Patel who once again took a stunning catch, it was a one-handed take. Patel was the one who took fabulous catch in 2nd ODI to remove junior Akmal.
Adnan Akmal came in as the last recognized batsman for Pakistan but he lost his partner Afridi straightaway in the next over, once again Anderson took his prey with a length-ball, Afridi tried to hit it towards on-side, got an inside edge which clipped his pads before hitting the stumps. A good innings by Afridi (51 off 55, 3 FOURS & 1 SIX) came to an end.
The score of Pakistan was 180/7 in 41.0 overs. At the fourth ball of the 43rd over, Umar Gul danced down the pitch & clubbed Swann over deep mid-wicket area, the ball went into the stands for SIX.
Gul in the 47th over once again hit a fabulous SIX but this time to Patel & it went straight over the bowler’s head. In the next over, Finn came back to clean Adnan (9) who tried to play it on the off-side.
Ajmal (4) also lost his stumps in an effort to hit the ball hard. It was an inswinger from Anderson, Ajmal missed it, the ball kissed his pad before hitting the stumps. At the last ball of the over, Umar Gul got an outside edge which went wide of Kieswetter & raced away for FOUR.
In the last over of the innings, both batsmen took 8 valuable runs but at the last ball, Cheema (5) got run-out as he was looking for 2nd run but Gul sent him back, he was stuck in the middle of the crease & keeper took the bails off. Umar Gul remained not-out at the score of 27 (27 balls, 1 FOUR, 2 SIX).
Pakistan some how managed to score 222/10 in 50.0 overs. It was a below par score but was good one for Pakistan as they were in trouble early on after loosing 4 wickets for 50 in 11 overs.
Finn once again lead the attack & took 3 wickets for 24 in 10 overs, Broad was the other one who took 3 wickets but he gave 42 runs in 10 overs. Anderson was a bit expensive as he gave 52 runs in 10 overs & took 2 wickets.
For chasing the targets, England’s captain – Alastair Cook who is at his best started innings with Kevin Pietersen. Pakistan who was looking for early breakthroughs was jolted when Umar Gul bowled 3 no-balls, 1 wide & gave 15 runs in that over. Mighty England was more then happy as their score was 40/0 after first 5 overs.
Saeed Ajmal was introduced by Misbah-ul-Haq in the next over. From there own, spinners were in the control but at occasions Pietersen danced down the pitch to score some quick runs. Afridi was hit for a SIX in 15th over by KP.
England enjoyed some fortune as Pietersen was dropped by Azhar Ali at 45. It was all looking so easy to bat, Kevin didn’t stop hitting the ball hard, he once again came down the crease & hit M. Hafeez straight for a SIX, this took him over 4,000 runs in ODI’s.
Umar Gul was brought back into the attack but his comeback over went for 13 overs. Saeed Ajmal finally managed to get the breakthrough, the wicket-ball turned a bit and took a faint edge of Cook’s bat which went straight into the gloves of Adnan Akmal, Cook (80 runs, 98 balls faced, 9 FOURS & 1 SIX) stayed 20 runs short of his 3rd consecutive hundred.
Score of England was 170/1 in 29 overs. Eoin Morgan was sent out to complete the job, he struck Ajmal with a beautiful SIX over long-on.
In the next over, Gul was punished again by Pietersen, he hit 2 FOURS in it. Newbie (Morgan) was dropped by wicket-keeper Adnan Akmal at the ball of Saeed Ajmal in 33rd over.
England took 3rd powerplay in the next over to wrap-up the game. Cheema & Afridi were operating from both ends & Pietersen reached his ODI hundred after 3 years. He & Morgan then finished the game to seal the series for England.
KP & Morgan remained not-out at 111 (98 balls faced, 10 FOURS & 2 SIXES) & 24 (32 balls faced, 2 FOURS & 1 SIX) respectively. England scored 226/1 in 37.2 overs to win the match.
It was dreadful performance by Pakistani bowlers (gave 11 extras : ‘lb 3, w 4, nb 4′) after their batsmen, specially Umar Gul (who is the leader of the attack) went for 59 runs in 7 overs, Cheema went for 40 in 6.2 overs, M. Hafeez went for 32 in 6.0 overs & Shahid Afridi went for 52 in 8.0 overs. The best among all was Saeed Ajmal who took 1 wicket & gave 40 runs in 10 overs.
England are now 3-0 up in the series, they’ve nothing to lose. Pakistan will have to answer many question, they are losing ground in every department, Pakistan will try its best to win the last game to escape whitewash which they delivered to England in Test series.
Stats & Trivia:
– James Anderson is now leading the list of most wicket-takers in ODI’s for England against Pakistan with 29 victims.
– The opening stand between Alastair Cook & Kevin Pietersen worth 170 has become the highest one for England against Pakistan in ODI’s, it beat a 16-year record.
– England secured first series victory in Asian conditions since 2007 (in Sri Lanka), it is only England’s 3rd since 1987.
– Kevin Pietersen scored his 8th ODI hundred; a hundred after 3 years, 2 months & 22 days.
– Kevin Pietersen crossed 4,000 runs in his ODI career.
– Shahid Afridi scored his 33rd ODI fifty & Umar Akmal scored his 13th ODI fifty.
HQ Photo Gallery: Click here to enjoy the action in snaps.
Result: England won by 9 wickets.
Man Of The Match: Kevin Pietersen (England).