Pakistan gave England a run for their money when they defeated them in the first Twenty20 International at Dubai by eight runs, after losing the ODI series 4-0.
After being whitewashed in the ODI’s, the Pakistan team were questioned for their loss of form, after having a dominant couple of months.
Pakistan Captain, Misbah ul-Haq, who was pleased to be back on a winning run, said: “I had to face a lot of criticism after the one-day defeats, so it’s pleasing. Every win brings joy.”
Pakistan, who batted first, posted an under par total according to match totals made previously at the same ground. They had Shoaib Malik’s 39 run contribution to thank, after an almighty batting collapse for getting them to a total of 144.
England’s Graeme Swann, who had a rough time in the field, made up for it with some outstanding bowling, taking three wickets, while giving away just 13 runs.
The English batsmen would have been licking their lips for having a simple target of 145 to chase and starting with a solid 33 run knock by Kevin Pietersen, which was then followed by Ravi Bopara’s 39.
However, things turned from good to an absolute nightmare as Pakistan slowed down England’s scoring dramatically, thus making their required run rate skyrocket.
Pakistan had to give credit to Umar Gul and Mohammad Hafeez, whom both gave away only 18 runs, and together took out half of the English team. Gul taking three wickets and Hafeez, two.
England’s Captain for the Twenty20 International series, Stuart Broad, was shell-shocked by the teams’ loss. “As a team you would back yourself to score 144 against most teams, we just didn’t manage to get over the line when we should have done.”
Captain ul-Haq, who had nothing but praise for his team, said: “That was the key. They kept the pressure on, and finally they just won the game for us. Gul really bowled very well. There was no answer to his bowling today.”
England will be hoping to put the horrid loss behind them when the two squads meet again on the 25th of February in Dubai once again.