DUBAI - England make strong comeback to beat Pakistan by 38 runs to level the three-match Twenty20 series 1-1 here at the Dubai Sports Complex on Saturday.

Pakistan, who needed 151 runs for victory, were bowled out for 112. Pakistani batsmen throw away their wickets while playing irresponsible shots. Captain Misbah scored very slow game and made 12 runs off 24 balls. Shahid Afridi and Hammad Azam were the only players who got past 20 runs. England bowled well, batted well and fielded superbly to outplay Pakistan.

England skipper Stuart Broad kept faith with the same team that lost by eight runs on Thursday. Pakistan made one change, bringing in pacer Aizaz Cheema in place of Junaid Khan, who gave away 42 runs from his four overs without taking any wicket in the first match.

England won the toss and batted first. Opener Kevin Pietersen hit the first ball of the match from M Hafeez towards backward square leg for four runs. He also hammered Cheema through the covers in the second over. Pietersen and fellow-opener Craig Kieswetter amassed 35 runs in 4.2 overs before Saeed Ajmal picked up the prized wicket of Pietersen for 17.

Pietersen, sweeping Ajmal’s delivery from the leg stump, could only scoop the ball into the hands of Umar Gul at short fine leg. Ravi Bopara lasted just four balls before he was trapped leg before by Gul, the hero of Pakistan’s first match win. Hafeez went on to trap out-of-form Eoin Morgan in front of his stumps for nine.

Newcomer Jonny Bairstow hit a maiden half-century to steer England to a challenging 150-7. The 22-year-old right-hander made an unbeaten 60 off 46 balls studded with five boundaries and two sixes to help England recover. Bairstow, who made his debut last year, improved on his unbeaten 22 he made during England’s eight-run defeat in the first match here on Thursday, opened up with a four off Shahid Afridi and hit a six in the leg-spinner’s next to lift the scoring rate. Bairstow added 39 for the fifth wicket with Samit Patel (13) and then hit Umar Gul for a six before the bowler finished with 2-31

A large crowd made up of mostly Pakistan fans cheered their bowlers. England’s young team raised the question whether Twenty20 is fast becoming a game exclusively for players in their 20s. Pakistan have relied on experience but the question is whether agility or experience helps win Twenty20 matches.

Pakistan are being led by 37-year-old Misbah-ul-Haq who is 12 years older than his counterpart Stuart Broad. It is clear that Pakistan are not bothered by the age factor, fielding seven players in their 30s whereas England have just two — Graeme Swann and Pietersen.

If England win this series they can claim a triumph of youth over experience. Until a few years ago, the England selectors didn’t believe in youth but now they are willing to try out the youngsters. Danny Briggs is just 20, Jos Buttler is 21 and Jonny Bairstow only 22 years old.


K Pietersen c Gul b Ajmal    17

C Kieswetter c Gul b Afridi    31

R Bopara lbw b Gul    1

E Morgan lbw b Hafeez    9

J Bairstow not out    60

S Patel run out    13

J Buttler b Gul    7

S Broad b Cheema    2

G Swann not out    2

EXTRAS: (lb5, w3)    8

TOTAL: (7 wkts; 20 overs)    150

FOW: 1-35, 2-38, 3-49, 4-79, 5-118, 6-132, 7-137

BOWLING: Hafeez 4-0-25-1, Cheema 4-0-31-1, Ajmal 4-0-20-1, Gul 4-0-31-2, Afridi 3-0-28-1, Malik 1-0-10-0


M Hafeez c Pietersen b Finn    0

Awais Zia c Dernbach b Broad    6

Asad Shafiq c and b Dernbach    1

Umar Akmal c Morgan b Finn    19

Shoaib Malik c Bairstow b Swann    12

Misbah-ul Haq c Bairstow b Swann    13

Shahid Afridi c Morgan b Broad    25

Hammad Azam c Buttler b Bopara    21

Umar Gul c Kieswetter b Finn    10

Saeed Ajmal run out    0

Aizaz Cheema not out    0

EXTRAS: (nb1, w4)    5

TOTAL: (all out; 18.2 overs)    112

FOW: 1-0, 2-2, 3-30, 4-32, 5-50, 6-74, 7-98, 8-111, 9-111, 10-112

BOWLING: Finn 4-0-30-3, Dernbach 3-0-13-1, Broad 3.2-0-12-2, Swann 4-0-17-2, Bopara 3-0-23-1, Patel 1-0-17-0

TOSS: England

UMPIRES: Ahsan Raza (PAK) and Zameer Haider (PAK)

TV UMPIRE: Shozab Raza (PAK)