England crush woeful Pakistan
England showed no sign of relinquishing their hold over Pakistan as they wrapped up the NatWest International T20 series courtesy of a comprehensive victory in the final match at the SWALEC Stadium.
Having followed up a 3-1 mauling of Pakistan in the npower Test series with a five-wicket win in the opening T20 on Sunday, England triumphed by six wickets in a hugely one-sided contest under the floodlights tonight - a record-equalling seventh success in a row in the shortest form.
The tourists, plagued by allegations of corruption and shorn of their suspended captain and two best bowlers, were bundled out for 89 - by some distance their lowest total in 20-over cricket - before England romped home with six overs to spare.
England deserve great credit for the ruthless manner in which they dismantled a side that beat Australia in two T20s earlier this summer, one dropped catch and a slight wobble in their run-chase rare black marks on an otherwise faultless display.
Although a dry surface offered significant assistance to the spinners, the greatest damage was wrought by pace bowlers Tim Bresnan and Stuart Broad, who were responsible for the first four Pakistan wickets tumbling for 11 runs in the space of 21 balls.
Bresnan finished with 3-10 from 3.4 overs, while Broad, Ryan Sidebottom and Graeme Swann shared six wickets, but Michael Yardy’s contribution - his four overs cost just 10 runs, the most economical by an England bowler in T20s - was equally important.
By contrast, Pakistan’s showing with the bat bordered on embarrassing. They were bowled out with eight balls unused despite winning the toss, with Umar Akmal’s typically frantic 17 the highest score on a woeful scorecard.
Although England lost Steven Davies and Craig Kieswetter in successive deliveries early in their chase, and Paul Collingwood and Ravi Bopara failed to build on promising starts, Eoin Morgan and Yardy - as they did two days ago - completed a predictably straightforward task.
Any optimism in the Pakistan camp that was aroused by Kamran Akmal taking 11 off the first over evaporated within a matter of minutes as they slipped to 22 for four.
That each of those four batsmen perished on the pull was supreme vindication for England’s far from subtle tactic of peppering them with short balls.
Bresnan was responsible for the first two, Kamran top-edging to Swann at midwicket and Mohammad Yousuf - dropped moments earlier by Morgan at backward point - finding Bopara at deep backward square-leg.
Shahzaib Hasan was caught down the leg side via his glove off Broad, who four balls later hurried Shahid Afridi sufficiently to have him taken at point by Morgan.
Umar led something of a recovery by hoisting Swann for two straight sixes, but the off-spinner responded with a wonderfully flighted delivery that turned appreciably and bowled the youngster as he charged down the pitch.
Swann’s non-existent celebration was perhaps a reflection of how one-sided the contest had become, a feeling that grew when Mohammad Hafeez and Fawad Alam perished in the space of three balls.
Hafeez, a replacement for seamer Wahab Riaz, was run out attempting a single to Sidebottom at short fine-leg, and Alam was caught behind first ball making room to cut Swann.
There was no better reflection of Pakistan’s travails than the fact that Abdul Razzaq, the archetypal one-day cricketer, laboured 20 balls over his 11, an innings which ended when he miscued a heave at Sidebottom to Yardy.
Bopara made no mistake at deep backward square-leg to account for Umar Gul and, although Saeed Ajmal avoided Sidebottom’s hat-trick ball, Bresnan’s adherence to the principle of bowling full and straight did for a back-pedalling Shoaib Akhtar.
Pakistan never came close to threatening their previous lowest total in T20s - the 125 for nine they made against Australia at the MCG earlier this year - and even when Davies chipped the fiery Shoaib to square-leg and Umar ran out Kieswetter with a direct hit from cover point next ball, an upset was never likely.
England captain Paul Collingwood made 21, which included a leg-side six as he advanced to Shoaib, before he edged Ajmal’s doosra to slip, and Bopara was lbw on the back foot attempting to pull Afridi, but the game was long since up for Pakistan.