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Pak-Eng series set for crunch finale

27 February, 2012

ABU DHABI: Batting remained a major concern for the hosts as Pakistan and England enter into Twenty20 series decider at Sheikh Zayed Stadium today (Monday).

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ABU DHABI: Batting remained a major concern for the hosts as Pakistan and England enter into Twenty20 series decider at Sheikh Zayed Stadium today (Monday).

Pakistan batsmen again defied all the expectations by throwing away their wickets in the second Twenty20 and lack of game plan was evident in their loss in pursuit to an achievable target. Shahid Afridi and Hammad Azam provided some entertainment to the crowd through their quick-fire innings but after Hammad's departure Pakistan victory hopes were ended and England took control of the match and won it easily by 38 runs.

Pakistan lost half their side for 50 by the ninth over but consolation for them came in the promise of Hammad. Misbah has yet to allow him a bowl in this series, which is short-termism at its worst with World Twenty20 approaching, but even at more than 10 an over he posed a threat until a steepling blow was held at long-on by Jos Buttler.

Pakistan skipper Misbah wants to forget the 38 runs defeat to England in the second Twenty20 match and look forward positively toward the third and final Twenty20 match of the series.

Misbah said: "Our main approach will be to forget the last game and think positively. We will play the game with a positive frame of mind as we want to win the match badly. I hope everyone will come with good performances in this match."

Misbah sportingly appreciated England's Jonny Bairstow's fine knock. "He (Bairstow) played really well especially at a time when England was in trouble after losing players like (Kevin) Pietersen and (Ravi) Bopara. I think his knock set the game for England and he looks a good player for this format of the game."

Misbah does not believe that the target of 150 was a tall order. "It was a gettable total though it was a fighting score provided one batted properly. Our batting disappointed us once again."

England adopted quickly to the match situation and have learnt their lessons quickly. Coach Andy Flower said England's youthful side have gained vital experience against Pakistan which will help them in their bid to defend their World Twenty20 title later this year.

Flower believes the experience on the sub-continent like pitches will leave them in good shape to defend their World Twenty20 title they won in the Caribbean in 2010.

"The experience that those guys will have gained in a pressure situation against a very good opposition in these conditions will be absolutely vital to their growth and to our growth as a side," Flower told reporters on Sunday.

Flower stressed his team need to concentrate on the Sri Lanka event. "We have to have, at this stage, an eye on the World Twenty20, which is in six or seven months time and therefore how we play against these spinners in these conditions and how quickly we learn is vital to our chances in Sri Lanka," said Flower. "Most of our Twenty20 matches are now in England, so it will be different cricket and we have to make the most use of this next one which, no doubt, we will be aiming to do. But this experience out here has been great for us."


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