Skippers salute Bairstow impact
Jonny Bairstow received praise from both captains after setting up a series-levelling victory for England in the second Twenty20 international in Dubai.
In compiling 60 not out from 46 balls on a day when almost every other batsman struggled, Bairstow did more than anyone to guide the tourists to a 38-run triumph that ensures there will be all to play for in Monday’s final match in Abu Dhabi.
England skipper Broad was naturally impressed by the 22-year-old’s ball-striking and shot selection, but also paid tribute to the mental fortitude Bairstow showed in assessing a par score following the loss of three wickets in quick succession.
Pakistan never seriously threatened to overhaul England’s 150 for seven and were dismissed for 112 with 10 balls unused.
“Jonny showed a lot of character,” said Broad. “He actually showed experience beyond his years to realise that was probably not going to be a 170 wicket, and to make sure we got to a strong 145-150.
"He adapted to the conditions really well and with our bowling attack, and fielding display, we were always going to be confident of defending 150 on that wicket.”
Broad’s opposite number, Misbah-ul-Haq, also recognised the value of Bairstow’s mature innings.
“I think he played really well,” said the Pakistan captain. “At the time, especially, when they had lost their main players, like (Kevin) Pietersen and Ravi Bopara. I think he played a wonderful knock. He set the game up for them.”
Bairstow was modest when it came to reflecting on his own performance, and acknowledged the challenge he now faces in following up his man-of-the-match display.
“It’s obviously very pleasing to score the runs, but then again you’ve got to keep backing it up, so with that comes a bit of added pressure,” said the Yorkshire batsman. “You take that on the chin with scoring runs and you want to keep doing so.”
Broad, meanwhile, had further reasons to be cheerful after seeing his side deliver a strong all-round performance in the field.
Steven Finn once again spearheaded the attack with 3-30, while Broad and Graeme Swann each picked up two wickets while also keeping a firm hold on Pakistan’s scoring rate.
“Certainly the bowling unit did everything we asked of them,” said the captain.
“You are hunting for early wickets and the bowlers delivered that. Again Swanny was brilliant, so I think the way we bowled and fielded was fantastic.
“The guys did themselves proud today after a disappointing loss on Thursday. I thought it was a really powerful fielding display from a young athletic team.”