(Reuters) – Captain Stuart Broad and Jade Dernbach held their nerve in the closing overs to bowl England to a five-run victory and a 2-1 series win over Pakistan in the final Twenty20 international in Abu Dhabi yesterday.
Man-of-the match Kevin Pietersen had laid the foundations by belting 62 off 52 deliveries while carrying his bat through the England innings.
But his hard work appeared to be in vain as Pakistan reached 113 for three with Awais Zia (23), Asad Shafiq (34) and Umar Akmal (22) all making useful contributions.
However, with Pakistan needing 17 runs off the final two overs, Broad bowled a superb penultimate over conceding only four runs when Jonny Bairstow allowed the ball to slip through his legs and over the boundary.
He also claimed Akmal’s scalp when the batsman skied the ball and allowed Graeme Swann to take a comfortable catch.
When Dernbach came in to bowl the final over, Pakistan still needed 13 runs for victory and, with the dangerous Shahid Afridi at the crease, the 2009 Twenty20 world champions must have fancied their chances.
However, Afridi’s call for a second run proved to be their downfall. Thinking it was batting partner Misbah-ul-Haq who was running towards the danger end, Afridi failed to make his ground when wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter whipped off the bails.
That effectively took the fight out of Pakistan and Dernbach ended the match by clean bowling Misbah for 28 with the final delivery of the contest.
“Twenty20 is a thinking man’s game and it can change every ball,” Broad told the BBC. “As a team, we need to keep our emotions in check and keep calm.
“You have clear principles and clear plans in order to achieve that. We held our nerve at the end. It’s hugely exciting and I’m excited about how this team is shaping up.”
The result meant England, the current Twenty20 world champions, had defended a total under 150 for the first time in the shortest format of the game.
England won the one-day series 4-0 after they were whitewashed 3-0 in the tests.