Razzaq onslaught fires Pakistan to win

Pakistan 149-6 (19 ovs) bt England 148-8 (20 ovs) by four wkts
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The Independent Online

A fierce late onslaught from Abdul Razzaq ensured Pakistan took a 1-1 draw in their two-match Twenty20 series against England with a four-wicket win in Dubai.

Razzaq was in irresistible form at the death, striking five colossal sixes in a match-winning knock of 46 in only 18 deliveries.

England, who set a winning target of 149, had earlier played themselves into pole position on the back of Kevin Pietersen's dominant 62 and Graeme Swann's spell of three for 14 in four overs.

Debutant Ajmal Shahzad experienced the highs and lows of international cricket, taking two wickets in his first over but shelling 17 runs in the penultimate over as Razzaq dragged his side over the line.

Shahzad saw his first ball driven for four by Imran Nazir but struck with his third as the same batsman fed Tim Bresnan at third man.

A second wicket came two deliveries later as Imran Farhat lobbed tamely to Stuart Broad at mid-on, making it four for two.

Umar Akmal and Shoaib Malik repaired some of that damage before the former took a blow to the helmet as Broad speared in a nasty bouncer to end the sixth over, with the score at 39 for two.

One ball later it was 39 for three, Matt Prior smartly stumping Malik (13) from Swann's first ball.

The off-spinner bowled a rare Twenty20 maiden on his next visit to the crease, with Prior failing to hold a tough chance from Akmal behind the stumps.

Swann continued to constrict the scoring and forced Shahid Afridi into desperate measures. But the all-rounder, back after a two-match ban for biting the ball, disappointed his many fans when he skied one to Eoin Morgan at wide long-on to fall for eight.

Morgan again held on as Akmal heaved Swann's final delivery to the Irishman at deep mid-wicket, leaving the bowler with exemplary figures.

Paul Collingwood was more costly, the incoming Razzaq taking two huge sixes off the England captain before adding a third off Luke Wright.

Shahzad made an ungainly attempt at catching the lively Fawad Alam as Pakistan claimed the initiative, leaving the bowler, Broad, visibly annoyed as the ball raced to the ropes.

Broad had his man in the 18th over, Morgan picking up a third catch, but his quickfire 28 made a big dent in the target.

Having needed 44 off the last five overs, Pakistan required 17 from two.

Razzaq did not need that many, though. He hammered two huge sixes to win it off Shahzad in the 19th after a careless overthrow from Jonathan Trott had given him the strike.

England had made 148 for six having started in subdued fashion as Joe Denly (five) extended his unenviable Twenty20 record to 20 runs in five matches.

His departure brought Pietersen to the crease and England's return went from 10 runs in the first three overs to 29 in the following three.

Trott was going slowly at one end but the same could not be said for Pietersen, who danced down the track to launch Saeed Ajmal's third delivery into the top tier of the stands.

Two more Pietersen fours off Afridi brought the partnership past 50 and he picked up another maximum when he punched the spinner down the ground for a mighty six.

Pietersen's power earned him a life on 45 when Afridi dropped a well-hit shot at cover and he soon progressed to his third Twenty20 half-century off 28 balls.

Umar Gul was next to experience the 29-year-old's forceful hitting, Pietersen shifting his feet before driving the ball clean over the long-off ropes.

Trott departed for 39, run out by Nazir after a mix-up, with Morgan promoted to number four ahead of Collingwood.

The Dubliner responded by hoisting his third delivery over mid-wicket for six but Pietersen's assault was ended when Ajmal won an lbw decision that did not impress the departing batsman.

Morgan (nine) fell to Gul in the penultimate over, but Wright and Collingwood both hit sixes of their own, the captain's coming from his first ball.

Arafat removed Wright and Bresnan in successive deliveries in the final over.

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