Pakistan A edge home

England lost to Pakistan A by one wicket today as their horrific overseas one day form continued. The match comes a real confidence booster for Pakistan, and may set the tone for the up-coming ODI series, something England must win to salvage any pride from their tour.

Matt Prior and Paul Collingwood both passed 70 for England, but Bazid Khan stuck a wonderful 90 from 88 and in the process guided Pakistan A home, his innings reminding the Pakistani selectors that he is capable of playing for the national team at the highest level.

England were without Marcus Trescothick, Andrew Flintoff, Michael Vaughan and Steve Harmison who are all being rested after the test series, and in their places came Matt Prior, Vikram Solanki, Ian Blackwell and Kabir Ali, with Strauss captaining the side.

Strauss lost the toss and England was instantaneously put into bat in tricky conditions. The stand in captain was caught behind early off the bowing of Riaz Afridi having only scored five, the misty conditions proved hard to contend with early on.

Prior opened and got going once the early morning cloud and mist cleared, hitting some magnificent shots to all corners of the ground, adding 76 to the score with Solanki before the latter was caught out wonderfully by Tahir Khan for 26. Tahir ran backwards from point and grasped the ball from over his shoulder, and gave Abdul Razzaq his first wicket.

It was not long before Kevin Pietersen’s bad tour continued- he was bowled by a beauty from Yasir Arafat having scored just two. Prior soon followed Pietersen having top edged a sweep to short backward square leg on 72.

Paul Collingwood was brought to the crease following the dismissal of Prior, and showed why he is such a vital asset to the England side. Collingwood played through the middle overs cautiously but still scored at a steady pace whilst Blackwell and Ali both played short cameo roles.

England set the home side a modest 237, and although Anderson bowled well with the new ball getting Yasir Hameed for 9, Rafatullah Mohmand surged on without too many problems. Mohmand passed his fifty but was soon one of Collingwood’s two victims; he went for 55 from 76 deliveries.

Bazid scored quickly throughout the reply, playing the dominant role once Mohmand had gone. The tail wobbled near the end of the Pakistani innings but Bazid made sure that he was there to score the winning runs that came in the form of a cover-drive. Anderson had bowled very well at the death and ended up with four wickets for 46 runs, but his efforts were just not enough.

It was really the middle overs that cost England ultimately, where Pakistan A were relatively economical, England were woefully wild- Shaun Udal was struck for 33 runs off of the four overs that he bowled, and Ian Blackwell went at almost five an over.

There were positives to be taken from the game, Collingwood’s and Prior’s batting as well as Anderson’s bowling, but the team performance as a whole must greatly improve if England are to win the one-day series.

England- 236-7
Collingwood 75*, Prior 72

Lost to

Pakistan A- 239-9
Bazid 90*, Rafatullah 55, Anderson 4-46

CW player of the Match
Bazid Khan

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