Article

England stumble in Pakistan chase

24 February 2012 02:45

Pakistan have defeated England by eight runs in the first Twenty20 international at the Dubai Sports Club on Thursday.

The winners were far from impressive with the bat, posting a mediocre 144-6 from their 20 overs.

But that proved enough as Umar Gul (3-18 off four overs) and Mohammad Hafeez (2-18 off four) restricted England to 136-6 in response.

Pakistan made a bright start, scoring 36 from the first three overs, but the departure of Awais Zia (18) slowed their momentum.

Hafeez (23) and Asad Shafiq (19) were settled before they were both dismissed in the ninth over and Shahid Afridi (seven) saw his attempts to lift the run-rate last just seven deliveries.

Graeme Swann (3-13 off four) was the man who removed Afridi and he followed it up with another important wicket just three balls later.

The dangerous Umar Akmal (zero) was the last man dismissed as Swann finished with a double wicket-maiden, a most uncommon sight in Twenty20 cricket.

Pakistan were reeling at 73-5 but Shoaib Malik (39) and Misbah-ul-Haq (26) combined well to add 71 runs in the last nine overs.

That gave England a tricky target to chase but they made a superb start as Kevin Pietersen (33) and Craig Kieswetter (14) added 48 for the first wicket.

Pietersen's 21-ball knock, that included four fours and one six, came to an end when Shahid Afridi (1-27 off four) had him caught and when Kieswetter fell in the next over to Hafeez, Pakistan were back in the match.

Ravi Bopara (39) and Eoin Morgan (14) tried to steady the ship but both fell chasing quick runs after the required run-rate increased sharply.

And despite the efforts of Jonny Bairstow (22 not out), Gul ripped through the lower order as Jos Buttler (three) and Samit Patel (zero) fell cheaply.

That left Bairstow and Graeme Swann (two not out) too much to do as Pakistan took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

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