Broad relieved after thrilling win
England thought they were losing tonight’s Twenty20 decider against Pakistan, but dug in to pull off an impressive series-snatching win.
After Kevin Pietersen, who struck 62 not out, ushered the tourists to a competitive 129 for six, Pakistan appeared to be coasting in their run chase with barely seven-an-over needed from the last five and seven wickets in hand.
Skipper Stuart Broad had started to fear the worst long before then, yet he and Jade Dernbach hauled the match back to squeeze Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq’s scoring rate and seal a five-run win at Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Zayed Stadium.
Pakistan’s late struggle was reminiscent of the one England suffered on the way to an eight-run defeat in the first match of the series in Dubai last week.
“We obviously had a bit of inexperience in that first game, and today they had a lot of experience,” said Broad.
“It proves they’re quite difficult wickets to score on, and that’s what kept us going. After 10 overs, if we’re all honest, it looked like the game was slipping away from us.
“But the 11 guys on the field were very clear that, if we could get a couple of tight overs in, you can change Twenty20 games just like that. I think the communication between the fellas was brilliant, and that probably led to us winning the game.”
Broad also mentioned the contributions of Pietersen and Dernbach as key.
“It was a tense game,” he added. “KP showed his experience, to know it wasn’t going to be a 150-160 wicket. Once we got up to 130, I always thought that was going to be competitive.
“Jade was fantastic with his final two overs, very high-pressure overs to bowl - and he showed his Twenty20 class there.”
He signed off a hard-fought tour with another match-winning performance to put one over on old foe Saeed Ajmal, who took 4-23.
“It was a difficult wicket,” he said. “I found it quite hard to score really quickly, and they were quite big boundaries as well.
“The Pakistani bowlers are fantastic bowlers. Saeed Ajmal is world-class; the angle (Mohammad) Hafeez was bowling with was fantastic, and Umar Gul is very good with reverse-swing.”
Pietersen hit the last ball of England’s innings, an Aizaz Cheema full-toss, for six over midwicket. Misbah needed a maximum from Pakistan’s final delivery, too, but was deceived by Dernbach’s variation and bowled to leave his team 124 for six and 2-1 series losers.
“We had our work cut out,” Pietersen added. “But (we had) our death bowling again, Broady at the end bowling in the channel, getting reverse-swing, and then Jade with that slower ball for a spectacular last ball.”
Misbah agreed that England’s skilful seamers proved the difference.
“Through the last five overs, England bowled very well,” he said. “They have throughout the series, the slower ones, reverse-swing - it’s been remarkable - and we just couldn’t make the runs.
“That second-last over, from Broad, just pushed the game away from us.”