'Pure hitting' impresses Collingwood
Paul Collingwood and Shoaib Malik review the second Twenty20 in Dubai
England captain Paul Collingwood believes there is “no shame” in losing to an innings as destructive as the one Abdul Razzaq produced to earn Pakistan a share of the Twenty20 series.
Razzaq bludgeoned five mighty sixes in unbeaten 46 off just 18 deliveries to carry his side to a pulsating four-wicket win - 24 hours after they slipped to a seven-wicket defeat.
Until his arrival at the crease, England looked favourites to triumph, Kevin Pietersen having hit 62 off 40 deliveries in a total of 148 for six and Graeme Swann claiming 3-14 off four overs to reduce Pakistan to 78 for five.
Razzaq, however, launched a ferocious late assault, taking 17 off debutant Ajmal Shahzad’s final over to secure a first win in 11 competitive matches for Pakistan with an over to spare.
Collingwood was suitably impressed, saying: “There’s no shame in losing like that.
“Our two performances have been very, very good here. In Twenty20 cricket it only takes one batsman to have an exceptional innings and that’s exactly what he did tonight. It was pure hitting and very hard to bowl at him.
“We’ve done some fantastic stuff in the last few games and the boys should be very proud. They’ve been working on their skills and we feel we are moving forward in this format of the game.”
Yorkshire seamer Shahzad had enjoyed a fine start to his England career when he accounted for both Pakistan openers in his first over in international cricket.
Collingwood, however, admitted it was a tough baptism for the 24-year-old against the world Twenty20 champions, with a player as destructive as Razzaq in their ranks.
“He’s come in against the world’s best Twenty20 side and it’s not easy when you’re bowling against guys like that,” added Collingwood.
“But he’s got the talent and he certainly has the pace and the aggression to go with it.
“When you’ve got a combination like that you learn all the time. He’ll learn a hell of a lot from this experience.
“I know he enjoyed it, which is a good thing. He certainly didn’t shy away from it. He’s got all the attributes.”
Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik, who will hand the reins back to Shahid Afridi for the World Twenty20 in late April, was glad to lead his side to a confidence-boosting victory.
After a host of off-field problems and a dispiriting tour of Australia, when they lost all nine matches across three formats, Malik believes the result augurs well as they attempt to retain their crown in the Caribbean.
“We needed this performance before the Twenty20 World Cup,” said the all-rounder. “We were struggling before these two matches and the way our boys played was awesome to see.
“It was all a team effort but the way Razzaq batted was awesome. His hitting was absolutely clean and marvellous. He’s one of the best players in our team.”
Razzaq himself put the explosive finale down to positive thinking in the middle.
“When I went to the crease I was very confident,” he said. “I was telling Fawad Alam we should win this one. I was saying ‘You can, you will’ and we did.
“The team needed that, for me to hit the ball hard. Thankfully I hit five sixes because the team needed that to get victory.”
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