The master off spinner from England, Graeme Swann believed that his side was capable enough to come back in the T20 series against Pakistan. The tourists lost the first thrilling match by 8 runs which was played at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on February 23, 2012.
England has recently whitewashed the One Day International four match series 4-0 against Pakistan. The way Kevin Pietersen started batting in the first T20, it looked like he will win that single handed but the dreams were shattered after his dismissal. Swann was convinced that England has a better side which comprised attacking batsmen, lethal bowlers well supported by their excellent ground fielding and will bounce back.
Of course we can bounce back. We’ve just beaten these guys 4-0 in the ODI series. So confidence is still sky high. Had KP stayed in for three or four more overs, we would have won in ten overs, the way he was going. The bowlers are bowling well and the fielders are taking catches: I don’t see any reason why we can’t win the next two.
The match looked in the hand of England almost 90% of the proceedings and the encounter was lost in the last five overs where Pakistan capitalized and clinched that.
Pakistan was sent in to bat first as Stuart Broad won the toss and his decision paid off when five top order batsmen of the hosts were sent back to the pavilion for mere 73 runs in 10.4 overs. Another wicket at that juncture could have let them down but their experienced duo of Misbah-Ul-Haq and Shoaib Malik put them back to the track by adding 71 runs for the sixth wicket. Shoaib top scored with 39 and Misbah remained unbeaten for 26 as Pakistan managed a fighting total of 144 runs for the loss of six wickets.
England had a flying start when Kevin Pietersen lashed out at the rival bowlers and smashed 33 off 21 balls with one six and 4 fours before he was caught smartly by Asad Shafiq off Shahid Afridi. The tempo was carried on by Ravi Bopara who was tackling the situation admirably and they were heading towards the target. Bopara was bowled by an excellent Yorker from Umar Gul and there was a panic in the English camp as the next two wickets were taken by Gul in no time as the total touched 121 runs in 17.3 overs.
They required 24 runs to win the match in 15 balls with four wickets still in hand but were unable to sustain the pressure of quality bowling of Pakistan in the death overs. England was restricted to 136 runs and the duo consisting Jonny Bairstow and Graeme Swann had no answer to the targeted bowling and total was enhanced to 136 at the end of the required 20 overs.
Swann hailed the bowling of Pakistan by commenting,
They have world-class bowlers at the death and we didn’t cope with that as well as we should have done. Having said that, we got ourselves in a winning position and, nine times out of ten, we would expect to cross the line.”
Pakistan is leading the three T20 series 1-0 but Swann was positive that England can still win the series with their sheer team work. The second T20 will be held at the same venue on February 25, 2012, which will decide the fate of the series.