Pakistan and England Set for Dubai T20

Pakistan will take on England in the inaugural WorldCall Twenty20 international at the Dubai Sports City Stadium on Friday.

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By Adur Pradeep

Published: Fri 19 Feb 2010, 11:21 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 2:31 AM

With an eye on the Twenty20 World Cup to be held in the West Indies in April and May this year, both the teams would be keen to put up their best performance here. The second match will be held on Saturday.

England’s morale is high, considering their relatively successful tour to South Africa recently, but Pakistan had a disastrous tour to Australia, where they virtually lost almost all matches they played.

However, Pakistan start as firm favourites on back of their awesome record in Twenty20s. Besides, the pitch conditions in the UAE and crowd support will play in favour of the World Champions.

England captain Paul Collingwood himself admits that his teams starts as underdogs. “We certainly are the underdogs. Pakistan have a good Twenty20 squad. We have to play to our best to beat them,” he told reporters after unveiling the trophy, along with Pakistan skipper Shoaib Malik, on Thursday.

“We will have to be at the top of our game to beat them but we believe we’ve got the skills and the players here.”

Pakistan have some new faces in their side, including fast bowlers Mohammad Talha and Wahab Riaz. Malik would like to see the performances of the youngsters as he considers the Dubai tournament as a good preparation for the World Cup. It remains to be seen how the absence of Shahid Afridi, one of the top all-rounders in the world, would affect Pakistan in the first game. Afridi is set to play the second match on Saturday. Malik is confident of a good display. “We’ll try and grab this opportunity. We have some new comers in the side. I am sure they will perform well in the tournament,” he said.

Both the captains, however, refused to read too much into their defeats to their ‘A’ sides in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. While Pakistan suffered a seven-wicket loss against their ‘A’ side in the match at the Shaikh Zayed Stadium, England Lions got the better of England by five wickets.

“It was a practice match. We should have scored more. Now the team is well set for the two matches,” Malik said.

“It was a close match and England Lions played well. They deserved to be the winners. The match went till the last ball,” Collingwood said.

Regarding the combination for the first match, he said: “We’ve pretty much got the side set in our minds and we’ve got a squad that is here that we’ll choose from.”

With Pakistan missing experienced campaigners like Afridi and wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal, who was dropped from the team, England would consider the first match as their best opportunity in the two-match series.

Pakistan would look for major contributions from their attacking batsmen like Imran Nazir and Umar Akmal.

England, meanwhile, would look at their captain for an inspirational performance. Collingwood is one of the consistent performers for England in the one-dayers and Twenty20s. The series is also an important one for their batting mainstay Kevin Pietersen, after he struggled to make runs in the South African series.

The match starts at 6.30pm.


Pakistan (from): Shoaib Malik (capt), Abdul Razzaq, Fawad Alam, Imran Farhat, Imran Nazir, Khalid Latif, Mohammad Talha, Saeed Ajmal, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Umar Akmal, Umar Gul, Wahab Riaz, Yasir Arafat.

England (from): Paul Collingwood (capt), Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Joe Denly, Eoin Morgan, Kevin Pietersen, Liam Plunkett, Matt Prior (wk), Ajmal Shahzad, Ryan Sidebottom, Graeme Swann, James Tredwell, Jonathan Trott, Luke Wright.

Umpires: Asoka de Silva (Sri Lanka), Kumar Dharmasena (Sri Lanka).

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