Jonny Bairstow stars as England level series

 

Jonny Bairstow's maiden international half-century carried England to
a series-levelling 38-run win in tonight's second Twenty20 match
against Pakistan at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

Bairstow, who made 60 not out, got his eye in during the unbeaten 22 he made in vain in Thursday's defeat here, and showed the benefit of that experience with an innings of rich potential as England posted 150 for seven.

Pakistan appeared second-favourites already, but all the more so after then lurching to two for two inside two overs.

None of the top six managed to muster a 20, and even some trademark Shahid Afridi hitting could not seriously threaten England's total as Steven Finn finished with three for 30.

Bairstow's clean striking and an expert shot selection belying his 22 years were both key attributes, as they were when he impressed so many on his England debut in last September's one-day international win over India in Cardiff.

This time, he was helping to set a score rather than complete a chase after Stuart Broad chose to bat first on the same pitch used here two days ago.

Bairstow entered the equation at 49 for three in the seventh over, after Kevin Pietersen and Craig Kieswetter had given the tourists an encouraging start.

Pietersen again looked in imperious form, until a sweep at only Saeed Ajmal's second delivery, went fine and straight into Umar Gul's hands to end the opening stand with Kieswetter.

Ravi Bopara and Eoin Morgan both went lbw in single-figures, respectively pushing across Gul and missing Mohammad Hafeez on the defence. Bairstow had already announced himself with a straight six off Afridi, and two boundaries, when Kieswetter went for one big shot too many at the leg-spinner and picked out long-off.

The young Yorkshireman went on to hit five fours in all, and two sixes, from 46 balls, keeping his nerve, and momentum, as a succession of partners chipped in around him.

It was a significant riposte too to those who questioned his and Jos Buttler's readiness for this level, after they failed to manage a seven-an-over target in the last five overs as England fell eight runs short in the first match.

Any doubts that England had plenty of runs on the board, to travel to Abu Dhabi for the final instalment of an arduous tour on the back of a victory and with a chance of stealing the series, soon vanished when Pakistan began their reply.

Hafeez was well caught by Pietersen, high to his right in an unaccustomed position at first slip, Finn's pace and bounce the telling factor.

Asad Shafiq fell to a sharp return catch by Jade Dernbach, and Umar Akmal followed a six over long-on off Finn with a carve to point, well held by Morgan.

Awais Zia also clubbed Finn high over long-on for a six, but otherwise batted as if blindfolded until he connected with another flail at Broad only to be caught at mid-off, where Dernbach was almost knocked off his feet yet clung on to the ball.

The upshot was a debilitating 34 for four after the six-over powerplay, and despite Afridi's 25 from 23 balls, including a huge six in a solitary expensive over from Samit Patel, Pakistan could not get competitive.

Afridi survived a sharp return chance to Graeme Swann on 19 out of 74 for six, the preface to a stand of 24 in 3.2 overs almost entirely dominated by youngster Hammad Azam.

England were only temporarily rattled, though.

When Buttler held a steepling catch at long-off to see off Azam, Pakistan had left too much for even Afridi to do, and he was last out, skying to cover off Broad in the 19th over.

England bowled and fielded as well as they needed to. But there was no doubt about their match-winner, Bairstow also contributing two well-judged catches at deep midwicket to help ensure the outcome never became too close for comfort.

Scoreboard

England

Kevin Pietersen c Gul b Ajmal 17

Craig Kieswetter c Gul b Afridi 31

Ravi Bopara lbw b Gul 1

Eoin Morgan lbw b Hafeez 9

Jonathan Bairstow not out 60

Samit Patel run out (Ajmal) 13

Jos Buttler b Gul 7

Stuart Broad b Cheema 2

Graham Swann not out 2

Extras: (5lb, 3w) 8

TOTAL: (for 7 wickets) 150

Overs: 20.

Fall of wickets: 1-35, 2-38, 3-49, 4-79, 5-118, 6-132, 7-137.

Did not bat: Steven Finn, Jade Dernbach.

Bowling: Mohammad Hafeez 4-0-25-1 (1w), Aizaz Cheema 4-0-31-1 (2w), Saeed Ajmal 4-0-20-1, Umar Gul 4-0-31-2, Shahid Afridi 3-0-28-1, Shoaib Malik 1-0-10-0.

Pakistan

Mohammed 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 (Finn) 0

Aizaz Cheema not out 0

Extras: (4lb, 1w) 5

TOTAL: (all out) 112

Overs: 18.2

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

Bowling: Steven Finn 4-0-30-3 (1w), Jade Dernbach 3-0-13-1 (4w), Stuart Broad 3.2-0-12-2, Graeme Swann 4-0-17-2, Ravi Bopara 3-0-23-1 (1nb), Samit Patel 1-0-17-0.

Result: England wins by 38 runs.

Series: The three-match series is tied 1-1.

Toss: England.

Umpires Ahsan Raza and Zameer Haider, Pakistan.

TV umpire: Shozab Raza, Pakistan. Match referee: Jeff Crowe, New Zealand.

PA

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