Dubai: Umar Gul took three wickets and Mohammad Hafeez claimed two
on Thursday to help Pakistan beat England by eight runs in the first
Twenty20 international. Pakistan batted first and set a target of 144, led
by the 72—run partnership between captain Misbah—ul—Haq and Shoaib
Malik after Graeme Swann had taken three wickets in eight balls.
started strongly, with Kevin Pietersen hitting 33 off 21 balls. But with
England poised at 80—2, Hafeez bowled Eoin Morgan for 14 and Gul bowled
Ravi Bopara for 39 from 32 deliveries. Gul removed Jos Buttler for 3 and
Samit Patel for a duck in successive balls in the 18th over to
realistically end England’s hopes.
“When you’ve got Umar
Gul, Shahid Afridi and Saeed Ajmal, three of the top bowlers in T20
cricket, you always have a chance,” Misbah said. “That was the key.
They bowled really well. They kept the pressure on and finally won the
game for us.”
Pakistan’s openers of Hafeez and Awais Zia took
the total to 32. But after Zia was caught by captain Stuart Broad from
Steven Finn, England’s bowlers took over with Swann at the forefront
with the ball and in the field running out Asad Shafiq for 19.
just as Pakistan looked to be finished, the team’s middle order fought
back through Misbah and Malik. England started strongly, with Kevin
Pietersen hitting 33 off 21 balls. But with England poised at 80—2,
Hafeez bowled Eoin Morgan for 14 and Gul bowled Ravi Bopara for 39 from 32
Gul removed Jos Buttler for 3 and Samit Patel for a
duck in successive balls in the 18th over to realistically end England’s
hopes. “We showed a lot of character actually when they got a pretty
good start to get them (65—1) to (73—5),” Broad said. “Once we
were in that position and actually keeping them to 144, we were pretty
confident at the break that you chase that. “Most times you chase that
that sort of target in Twenty20 cricket, but we didn’t manage to keep a
batsman in throughout the innings.”
Broad dismissed suggestions
his inexperienced batsman were to blame, though he acknowledged his team
should have done better when needing only 35 runs with five overs to go.
“You have to credit the way they finished their bowling,” he said.
“Umar Gul is one of the best Twenty20 bowlers in the world and he showed
his class today. We probably didn’t play him as well as we could have
Broad and Misbah agreed that the turning point was when
Gul bowled Bopara, who had looked set at the crease. “The way he was
going, it was game over for us,” Misbah said. “After that wicket, we
just pulled it back.”
The win was a perfect riposte by Pakistan
to England’s 4—0 sweep in the one—day series.