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Brutal Razzaq wins Strauss praise

NatWest Series

Abdul Razzaq & James Anderson

James Anderson feels the full force of Abdul Razzaq's mighty blade. He helped take 42 off the last two overs in his savage unbeaten 44

England captain Andrew Strauss hailed the brutal hitting of Abdul Razzaq after Pakistan continued their renaissance with victory in the fourth match of the NatWest Series.

A 38-run win under the floodlight at Lord’s enabled Pakistan to level the series at 2-2 and set up a winner-takes-all clash at the Rose Bowl on Wednesday.

Razzaq’s savage unbeaten 44 off just 20 balls - he scored 40 of the 42 runs taken off the final two overs - carried Pakistan to 265 for seven in a match that went ahead despite the England players having “strong misgivings” about continuing following comments made by Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ijaz Butt yesterday.

Strauss and Steven Davies shared an opening stand of 113 as England began positively in pursuit, but Umar Gul returned fine figures of 4-32 to bowl them out for 227 with 3.5 overs unused.

“Abdul Razzaq played exceptionally well at the end and gave them some real momentum going into their innings,” Strauss said.

“He surprised us in the last two overs. The powerplay overs had gone very well for us up to that point. He unleashed and you’ve got to give credit where it’s due - it was outstanding hitting.”

Strauss made 68 in England’s reply, but Davies’ departure for 49 was the first of 10 wickets to fall for 114 runs as spin and then pace - in the form of Shoaib Akhtar and Umar Gul - proved their undoing.

“We got off to a fantastic start,” Strauss added. “We looked like we had the game reasonably under control, but we weren’t able to continue that momentum through the middle period.

“That middle period - it would have been better to have been closer to the run-rate required, so we’ve got to look at where we went wrong and we’ll be doing that tomorrow.

“Pakistan bowled exceptionally well with the older ball. We’re very disappointed to have lost the game.”

Tim Bresnan & Umar Gul

Umar Gul bowls Tim Bresnan as England struggle to cope with his combination of bowling fast, full and straight with the old ball

If England, who beat Pakistan 3-1 in the Test series and 2-0 in the Twenty20s, entertained any thoughts of another comprehensive triumph, they were dealt another reminder of the tourists’ threat courtesy of another spirited display three days after they won at the Brit Insurance Oval.

“They’ve got a lot of match-winners in their side,” Strauss said. “It’s important to remember it’s 2-2 and it’s a winner-takes-all affair at the Rose Bowl.”

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