Morgan inspires England to victory
Eurosport - Fri, 19 Feb 17:07:00 2010
A stunning 67 from Eoin Morgan saw England thrash Pakistan by seven wickets with nine balls to spare in the first Twenty20 in Dubai.
Pakistan set Paul Collingwood's side a target of 130 on a slow wicket at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, and a partnership of 112 between Kevin Pietersen and Morgan sealed a convincing victory.
The pair's fifth-wicket stand was the highest partnership compiled by England in the format, and Pietersen was a composed accomplice for Morgan (pictured, left) with his run-a-ball 43.
The world champions laboured throughout their innings with skipper Shoaib Malik top-scoring with a brisk 33, while Abdul Razzaq (22) and Fawad Alam (23) were the only other batsmen to establish themselves.
Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann each took two wickets as Collingwood shuffled his bowlers relentlessly to good effect as Pakistan struggled to find any rhythm.
An array of imposing floodlights provided the backdrop as the match was played in the sparsely-populated 27,000-seater stadium, and it was England who seized the initiative with a cluster of early wickets.
The typically irrepressible Imran Tahir made a pedestrian and uncharacteristic 13-ball two at the top of the order, and he fell to Broad in the fourth over with fellow opener Imran Farhat departing eight balls later.
The ebullient presence of Shahid Afridi was sorely missed as the regular captain served his ban for ball-tampering, and the only bright spark came as Razzaq pummelled two almighty blows to briefly ignite the innings.
England fielded superbly, and Broad capped a fine all-round display with a stunning catch to remove Umar Akmal for 13, diving full-length to cling on to the ball.
England's reply began in an inauspicious fashion as first Joe Denly (1), then Jonathan Trott (4) fell cheaply to tame dismissals as both Razzaq and Yasir Arafat struck early.
But that was the most the unusually-subdued Pakistan bowlers could muster and Collingwood's suicidal run-out for a duck was the only other wicket to fall.
Pietersen consolidated the innings with real composure and led the way as England hauled themselves back into contention with the run-rate, before Morgan made his mark.
The Middlesex batsman stamped his authority on proceedings with a flurry of boundaries and, despite surviving a hairy run-out appeal to reach his half-century, continued undeterred.
As the usually potent Umar Gul began the penultimate over, Pakistan were still in the contest, but two consecutive fours from Morgan put England on the brink, and an emphatic six over midwicket clinched the win with a real flourish.
Pakistan do not have to wait long to arrest a run of 10 successive defeats, including their drubbing in Australia, as they meet England in the second Twenty20 on Saturday.
Follow live text commentary of the second Twenty20 between England and Pakistan in Dubai from 13:30 UK time on Saturday, February 20.