England Blind V Pakistan Blind, Pakistan in England Series, Match Two, 28th May 2006 at Redditch Cricket Club, Redditch

Report by Steve Field

On a chilly bright day an uninterrupted day’s play saw the Pakistanis get into their stride. Having won the toss and inserted England the damp outfield and the ring of fielders half way back with sweepers on the boundaries restricted the English batsmen to singles early on. After Foy was bowled by Abbasi, Sugg joined Rory Field and they added 99 in 68 minutes showing steady acceleration and improved timing. With Sugg’s departure Andy Powers played another brutal knock adding 87 in 42 minutes with Field. Powers started to pierce the field scoring several 2s to add to his three boundaries. When Field was run out in the 37th over England were still short of setting an imposing target. The bowlers backed up by their fielders kept a tight rein throughout with Abbasi and Razzaq being particularly economical the latter varying his pace effectively.

The Pakistani innings got off to an explosive start. Fayaz and Ishfaq found the gaps with strong legside shots and the England fielders were often chasing back to the boundary on a drying outfield. Field and Swanepoel were soon replaced by Townley and Reynolds as Townley claimed the lone success when he had Fayaz lbw. Bhatti came in to play steadily while Ishfaq became more dominant . An outstanding spell from Reynolds showed that movement of the ball away from the right hand batsmen could stop easy scoring opportunities behind square on the legside.

Ishfaq’s magnificent knock included three 8s as he finished unbeaten on 140. The English fielding was sharp throughout with Greenhill throwing himself around in front of a noisy, enthusiastic crowd twice landing at the feet of the Redditch’s deputy mayor.

Pakistan reached their target in 25.3 overs to gain a thoroughly deserved 1-0 lead in the series. With both sides having made the opposition feel uncomfortable in the first two encounters the series is interestingly balanced.

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