Under normal circumstances, a result like this would have fans excited at the prospect of a final clash. But given the situation before the hosts and the visitors in the England Pakistan ODI series, Pakistan’s victory has brought little cheer to anyone outside the Pakistan dressing room.
The fourth ODI at Lord’s began with the news that a couple of cricketers from oppositing teams had got into a confrontation and had to forcibly separated. Such have been the allegations that the England team have been hinting they have not wanted to be here. But thrust into the situation, they had a battle on their hands.
Pakistan had only Mohammad Hafeez hitting the mark in the top order, making a sizeable contribution of sixty-four in an attempt to stay alive in the series. But they created damage in the middle and lower batting order, particularly through the Pakistan captain, Shahid Afridi, and Abdul Razzaq. This was after Graeme Swann once again flutters, reducing Pakistan five for 155 after thirty-seven overs. Fawad Alam struck twenty-nine runs, but it was Afridi’s thirty-seven from twenty-two balls and Razzaq’s forty-four from twenty balls that allowed Pakistan to touch 265 for the loss of seven wickets.
In response, once again it was the England captain that led the way. His 113 run partnership with opening partner, Steve Davies, put England on track for the chase. Davies scored forty-nine runs before Sajeed Ajmal struck. Andrew Strauss continued on nonetheless, notching sixty-eight runs before England lost Jonathan Trott and Strauss at the half way mark, which made the job rather difficult with 127 runs on board.
Ian Bell and Eoin Morgan’s attempt to inject life into the innings proved futile as the task began to grow increasingly difficult. Needing eighty-four runs from the last ten overs at over eight an over with five days was not going to be a walk in the park and as the match wore on, so did England’s effort, ultimately losing the match by thirty-eight runs with the Pakistan bowlers striking back, three wickets by Shoaib Akhtar and four wickets from Umar Gul as England were forced to accept the levelling of series at 2-2 bowled out in the first ball of the forty-seventh over for 227.