England Blind V Pakistan Blind, Pakistan in England Series, Match Three, 30th May 2006 at Worcestershire County Cricket Club, New Road

Report by Steve Field

With Pakistan leading 2-0 in the four-match series the teams arrived at this beautiful ground to see a brief early shower clear up to give a fine sunny day and a pitch that looked as if it would produce an excellent game of cricket. The resulting win for Pakistan in the series clincher was by the margin of 5 wickets with 3.3 overs remaining and was a fair reflection of the difference between the teams.

England were again inserted as Pakistan won their third toss in a row. England opened with Rory Field and Luke Sugg and followed a familiar pattern with Field playing the anchor role and scoring opportunities restricted by the ring of fielders. A partnership of 75 in 14 overs was a solid start but England were behind the desired run rate at this stage. After the loss of Sugg the immediate loss of Foy was followed by a typically hard-hitting 91 from Andy Powers from 70 balls. The improved run rate was maintained despite a clatter of wickets including three run outs until David Townley calmly accumulated 24 from 11 balls in partnership with Rory Field who had once again batted through 40 overs this time for 96.

Sensing another victory inside the distance Pakistan were starting to accelerate but the loss of the prolific Ishfaq bowled by Swanepoel in the third over brought in Bhatti who started cautiously scoring only 10 from his first 20 deliveries. However as Bhatti started to hit out his 57 along with contributions of 67 from Ahmed, 63 from Fayaz, and 54 from Yaseen saw Pakistan to a comfortable victory with England hopeful throughout the innings especially at 196-5. The unbeaten stand of 104 between Fayaz and Yaseen showed the depth of their batting. Once again there was strong hitting through the leg side where several boundaries were saved by Andy Powers patrolling the boundary. Some precise hitting through the gap at mid on was also profitable.

As the Pakistan squad joyously celebrated their deserved victory the teams look forward to another close contest tomorrow at the County Ground.

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