England beat Pakistan by 5 runs in the 3rd T20 to take the series 2-1 in another low-scoring thriller in Abu Dhabi.
Batting first after winning the toss the England innings never really kicked off on a very slow track. Although they did not lose wickets they were unable to boost the run rate to any degree. One of the main reasons for that was Saeed Ajmal who bowled brilliantly to scalp 4 English wickets for only 23 off his 4 overs. Kevin Pietersen, however, carried his bat through the innings, as he realized it was not an easy pitch to score on. He ended up unbeaten on 62 off 52 balls, an invaluable contribution in the context of the game. He also hit the last ball of the innings for six, which was exactly what Pakistan required to do and could not.
Pakistan would have still been pretty comfortable chasing 130 for a series win. They lost Mohammed Hafeez early, in the second over for a golden duck off Dernbach. Asad Shafiq and Asad Zia stabilized the inningsbefore Zia was unlucky to be given out off Swann. Shafiq played well for his 34 off 32 balls before he ran himself out attempting an unnecessary 2nd run. Stuart Broad,England’s skipper, then missed what seemed at the time a crucial opportunity to run Umar Akmal out in the 16th over when he collected the ball but somehow couldn’t locate the stumps as Akmal struggled to return to his crease after a mix up with Misbah. Misbah and Akmal played sensibly thereafter but failed to find the boundary often enough.
With 17 needed off 2 overs Broad took the responsibility of bowling the penultimate over and he picked upAkmal without conceding a run off the first three balls as he made up for the run out he missed earlier. He ended up conceding only four off the over, that too a misfield from Bairstow which went for four. It turned out to be the turning point of the match.
Pakistan who were cruising at one stage ended up needing 13 off the last over to be bowled by Dernbach, and then 6 off the last ball with Misbah on strike. Misbah swung hard but could not connect and he heard the death rattle behind him as England celebrated their lowest successfully defended total.
Kevin Pietersen swept all the awards in the presentation ceremony-most entertaining innings, most sixes, man of the match, man of the series!!- raking in a bit of moolah in the process too!! It capped an amazing turnaround for a man who had been virtually written off after the Test series and for a team that had been mercilessly pulverized in the Tests.