Dubai - Pakistan find themselves in a do-or-die situation after having given England a chance to script a phenomenal come-from-behind series lead. Trailing 2-1 in the series, the hosts would be looking to salvage some pride in the final game to draw the four-match contest at a venue which hasn't particularly been a happy hunting ground for the 'hosts'.

England, on the other hand, would like to maintain the winning momentum and cap off their fightback with an emphatic series win against a struggling Pakistan as the two teams head to the Dubai International Cricket Stadium for the fourth and the final One-Day International (ODI) on Friday (November 20).

Pakistan have played 14 ODIs in Dubai since 2010 and have a 6-8 win-loss record. England incidentally have a cent percent record at this venue, having defeated Pakistan on both occasions the two teams clashed in February 2012.

The English team management would be pleased to see each of their top six in the batting order, with the exception of Jos Butler who finished unbeaten on 49 in Sharjah, contributing with at least a half-century. Chris Woakes has led the bowling attack for the visitors and his twin four-for in the second and the third ODI have been instrumental in England's fightback.

"It was a magnificent win, we look to the next game to go on and win the series. We've earned the right to do that, so hopefully we can produce another performance like that," Eoin Morgan said, praising his batting unit ahead of the final game. "It's a huge step forward for us, particularly our middle order and our batting unit having absolute clarity in what we were doing and playing in the positive way in which we're trying to improve the way we play all the time," Morgan added.

After losing the first ODI by six wickets, England came back hard at Pakistan with a thumping 95-run victory to level the series in Abu Dhabi, followed by another clinical all-round show to take a decisive 2-1 lead at Sharjah two days ago.

Pakistan would be fretting over the right team combination as they aim to restore pride in the final game. With the exception of Mohammad Hafeez and Babar Azam, their batting has let the team down and their bowling resources have taken a hit, with a knee injury to Yasir Shah ahead of the third match. Ahmed Shehzad, however, is likely make his national comeback after warming the bench so far in the series. The team management has been under fire from all corners over the exclusion of the explosive top-order batsman.

Pakistan skipper Azhar Ali said: “If you look at the last two games we lost because we made mistakes. No doubt England are very good but we have the ability to beat them. “The way we played the first game and won it, we thought we can win this series. Unfortunately, we did not play to our potential in the last two games and that is why we lost. I am very confident that if we play up to our potential, definitely we can win this match,” he added.

Coach Waqar Younis who held a meeting specifically with the batsmen, has reportedly warned the top order batsmen to pull up their socks and perform. When asked about the meeting, Azhar said: “We are hurt, like the whole nation. Since it happened like this we discussed everything. We are hurt because the match was in our hands [in Sharjah]. Next time we need to take full advantage and achieve the best. So the message was that we should score the maximum runs.”

Reacting to reports of rising pressure from back home to remove him as captain, Azhar said: “I don’t have control over my future. These are things which are not in my control. I think the best thing to do is to focus on what you have in your hand. I don’t have any fear of losing anything. I will do the job honestly and no one in the team too has that fear and will accept whatever the outcome will be out of the match.”

Azhar does not believe this will be toughest match as captain due to the pressure to win. “Pressure is always there in every series. It varies from series to series. We had the pressure of qualifying for the Champions Trophy when we were playing against Sri Lanka, but then the players responded very well. There is pressure today as it is a must-win game so if you take it positively and focus on cricket and use all your abilities then there is no doubt we can do it.”

Azhar admitted that running between the wickets has been a matter of concern for Pakistan with the team recording most run outs this year, with last match producing three run outs. “Obviously you don’t want run-outs but sometimes it happens. It was one of those days [in Sharjah] the calling was not good and that is an area of concern but it’s not a major problem that we cannot solve. It’s all about focus and putting your mind into it,” said Azhar who himself does not have an answer on why his players are not focused.

With England having played spinners very well, even the question on whether their ace spinner is fit for the match was irrelevant. “We will watch Yasir’s fitness. Hopefully he is fit, and is feeling better, but we want to assess whether he can survive the 50 overs. You can’t survive in 50 overs game by being half fit, so we have to assess him. We will also look at the pitch and then decide what combination to play.” The teams have moved to Dubai for the final match, where the Test surface was more receptive to pace. The last three ODIs between full members there have seen the chasing team win, suggesting that batting under lights won't be such an issue.


PAKISTAN (PROBABLE): Azhar Ali (capt), Ahmed Shehzad, M Hafeez, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shoaib Malik, Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Anwar Ali, Wahab Riaz, Yasir Shah/Zafar Gohar, M Irfan.

ENGLAND (PROBABLE): Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (capt), James Taylor, Jos Buttler (wk), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, David Willey, Reece Topley.