Pakistan's victory, sealed when Shoaib Akhtar had James Anderson brilliantly caught at slip by Younis Khan, ensured the hosts took an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match series, and England's run of limited-over failure against major Test playing nationswas extended to a ninth year.
That England pushed Pakistan so close was due to the valiant batting of the tail-enders. Kabir Ali, Ian Blackwell and Anderson added 83 runs for the final two wickets, and if the specialist batsmen had shown the same discipline and fight they would still have had plenty to play for in tomorrow's final match. Instead the game will see Marcus Trescothick's side play for nothing but pride, and the outside chance that a good performance may gain them selection for the one-day series in India in March 2006.
"We have got to start winning away from home," admitted a dejected Trescothick. "These conditions will be very similar to those in the next World Cup. We were in a very good position, having bowled Pakistan out for 210. The pitch spun more than we expected it to but we did not give ourselves a chance. We did not put partnerships together and we once again lost wickets at the top of the order."
This was the third consecutive game in which England have lost six wickets before the half-way stage of an innings. It is a position from which they will win few limited-over matches, let alone a World Cup.
When chasing a small total the most important thing is not to lose early wickets, but the specialists failed to do their job. Matthew Prior wafted at an away swinger from Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and Andrew Strauss was trapped plum in front by the very next delivery. Shoaib's pace was too much for Vikram Solanki, who played on, meaning that Trescothick and Andrew Flintoff were batting together before the end of the seventh over.
The partnership was broken by a brave piece of captaincy from Inzamam-ul-Haq, who chose to bowl a spinner while the fielding restrictions were in place. Arshad Khan, in the role of Pakistan's "supersub", produced a wonderful display of off-spin bowling.
Trescothick missed Arshad's initial two deliveries which turned sharply and the third, bowled with a scrambled seam, skidded through and hit his off stump. The captain rued his shot selection as he walked off but credit should be given to the bowler.
England's supersub, Anderson, bowled well but Ian Bell, the man he replaced, played no part in the game. Naming Anderson and not Bell as supersub was a strange decision, especially as Pakistan were always going to bat first and England prefer chasing totals to setting them. But it underlined the hit-or-bust attitude that seems to exist among the batsmen. It was there again when Paul Collingwood drove to backward point and in Geraint Jones' scooped cut to cover.
Flintoff looked in determined mood with both bat and ball, and England's hopes all but ended when, on 40, he was deceived by a Shahid Afridi leg-break. It is unfair to expect him to win every game. Occasionally he needs some help and yesterday it only came from his fellow seamers who shared six wickets.
England took regular wickets but Inzamam stood firm. What a player he is. The Pakistan captain showed everyone how to bat on the pitch but it seems England's bowlers were the only ones watching.
Scoreboard from Rawalpindi
Pakistan won toss
Salman Butt run out (Solanki-Jones) 15
42 min, 35 balls, 3 fours
ÝKamran Akmal b Anderson 18
49 min, 36 balls, 4 fours
Younis Khan b Flintoff 0
1 min, 1 ball
Mohammad Yousuf lbw b Kabir Ali 11
33 min, 17 balls, 2 fours
*Inzamam-ul-Haq not out 81
160 min, 113 balls, 7 fours, 1 six
Shoaib Malik c Strauss b Blackwell 23
50 min, 32 balls
Shahid Afridi b Plunkett 34
47 min, 33 balls, 2 sixes
Abdul Razzaq b Plunkett 0
1 min, 1 ball
Naved-ul-Hasan c Collingwood b Kabir Ali 17
20 min, 13 balls, 2 fours, 1 six
Shoaib Akhtar c Collingwood b Flintoff 0
3 min, 2 balls
Mohammad Sami c Jones b Anderson 0
5 min, 5 balls
Extras (lb5 w2 nb4) 11
Total (210 min, 47.2 overs) 210
Fall: 1-34 (Salman Butt) 2-34 (Younis Khan) 3-34 (Kamran Akmal) 4-58 (Mohammad Yousuf) 5-118 (Shoaib M alik) 6-174 (Shahid Afridi) 7-174 (Abdul Razzaq) 8-208 (Naved-ul-Hasan) 9-209 (Shoaib Akhtar) 10-210 (Mohammad Sami).
Bowling: Flintoff 9-1-20-2 (nb1) (6-1-1 3-1, 2-0-6-0, 1-0-1-1); Anderson 8.2-3-26-2 (8-3-26-1, 0.2-0-0-1); Plunkett 9-0-45-2 (w1) (4-0-17-0, 5-0-28-2); Kabir Ali 10-0-51-2 (nb3 w1) (6-0-26-1, 1-0-1-0, 3-0-24-1); Blackwell 6-0-35-1 (3-0-16-0, 2-0-15-1, 1-0-4-0); Collingwood 5-0-28-0 (one spell).
Progress: J M Anderson replaced I R Bell before the innings began. Power Play 1 (overs 1-10): 32-0; PP2 (overs 11-15): 42-3; PP3 (overs 16-20): 67-4.
*M E Trescothick b Arshad Khan 23
78 min, 41 balls, 3 fours
M J Prior c Kamran Akmal b Naved-ul-Hasan 6
15 min, 7 balls, 1 four
A J Strauss lbw b Naved-ul-Hasan 0
2 min, 1 ball
V S Solanki b Shoaib Akhtar 6
15 min, 14 balls, 1 four
A Flintoff lbw b Shahid Afridi 40
76 min, 48 balls, 4 fours, 1 six
P D Collingwood c Shoaib Malik b Mohammad Sami 6
7 min, 6 balls, 1 four
ÝG O Jones c Naved-ul-Hasan b Shahid Afridi 12
37 min, 38 balls, 1 four
I D Blackwell run out 29
66 min, 36 balls, 3 fours
L E Plunkett lbw b Shahid Afridi 7
8 min, 12 balls, 1 four
Kabir Ali not out 39
89 min, 51 balls, 5 fours
J M Anderson c Younis Khan b Shoaib Akhtar 11
44 min, 37 balls
Extras (lb4 w12 nb2) 18
Total (223 min, 48.1 overs) 197
Fall: 1-13 (Prior) 2-13 (Strauss) 3-25 (Solanki) 4-70 (Trescothick) 5-77 (Collingwood) 6-99 (Flintoff) 7-106 (Jones) 8-114 (Plunkett) 9-164 (Blackwell) 10-197 (Anderson).
Bowling: Shoaib Akhtar 9.1-0-47-2 (nb1 w4) (6-0-29-1, 2-0-13-0, 1.1-0-5-1); Naved-ul-Hasan 10-1-38-2 (nb1 w1) (7-1-30-2, 3-0-8-0); Mohammad Sami 9-1-44-1 (5-0-29-1, 3-1-9-0, 1-0-6-0); Arshad Khan 10-2-21-1 (w1) (one spell); Shahid Afridi 7-0-34-3 (w3) (6-0-29-3, 1-0-5-0); Shoaib Malik 3-0-9-0 (w3) (2-0-7-0, 1-0-2-0).
Progress: Arshad Khan replaced Mohammad Yousuf between innings. Power Play 1 (overs 1-10): 38-3; PP2 (overs 11-15): 70-3; PP3 (overs 16-20): 93-5.
Man of the match: Inzamam-ul-Haq.
Umpires: A L Hill (NZ) and R E Koertzen (SA).Reuse content