England exacted revenge on Pakistan by securing a 4-0 clean sweep in the One-Day International (ODI) series after having suffered a similar fate in the Test matches.
A complete turnaround in fortunes in the ODIs saw Kevin Pietersen – whose place in the national team was being questioned after the Test series – hit his second successive century to help a resurgent England beat Pakistan by four wickets in the fourth and final match to help the tourists record their first ODI whitewash over the hosts in 25 years.
Pakistan captain Misbahul Haq, who suffered his first series loss as captain, conceded that England completely outplayed his team in the 50-over format in all departments despite some improvement displayed by the hosts at the latter stages of the series.
“We showed improvement from the last game but England and Pietersen were too good for us,” said Misbah. “All the credit goes to England for playing well in this series. We were below par.”
Misbah bemoans poor show
After the thrashing meted out to England in the Test matches, Misbah would have expected his spinners to dominate the tourists again. But he was clearly surprised at the immense improvement that the opposition batsmen displayed while tackling spin, scoring four centuries during the series compared to the dismal show put up by most in the Pakistan batting line-up.
“England have improved and really batted well since the Tests. They have started playing the spinners well and to get four centuries at the top was remarkable. That was the main difference between the two teams. Pakistan dropped their performance. We also had problems with our team combinations, so we will now have to sit down and think how to turn things around in the Twenty20 matches.”
Meanwhile, Pietersen’s 153-ball career-best 130 – his ninth ODI hundred – helped England chase down 238 after Pakistan finished on 237 all out. He helped England recover from 68 for four with a 109-run stand for the fifth wicket with Craig Kieswetter (43) to maintain his team’s domination.
Earlier, Asad Shafiq and Azhar Ali scored half-centuries but Pakistan were pegged back in the final overs with fast-bowler Jade Dernbach taking four for 45. Shafiq made a 78-ball 65, while Ali made 58.
Pakistan and England now play three Twenty20s, with the first one today, while the remaining matches will be played on February 25 February 27.
“The inclusion of Shoaib Malik after the team announcement disturbed the balance. The selectors’ decision to overlook Malik was overruled by the captain which is a proof of player power.”
“Pakistan need to work on their bowling department. England bounced back after the Test series defeat due to their strong bowling performance. We lacked depth in both bowling and batting.”
“The slump was the result of bad team selection. Pakistan never played with the right combination. Fitness is a problem and the failure of the openers to put up solid stands also has to be addressed.”
Published in The Express Tribune, February 23rd, 2012.