Wed, Feb 15, 2012 - Page 19 News List

Finn, Cook propel England to 130-run win


England’s Steven Finn, front, successfully appeals for a leg before wicket decision against Pakistan’s Asad Shafiq in the first one-day international match in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Monday.

Photo: AFP

Paceman Steven Finn took a career-best 4-34 and Alastair Cook hit his highest score to help England beat Pakistan in a 130-run win in the first day-night international in Abu Dhabi on Monday.

Finn, reduced to serving the drinks during England’s 3-0 defeat in the preceding Test series, destroyed Pakistan’s batting with four early wickets off 29 balls to dismiss them for 130 in 35 overs after Cook’s 137 helped his team to 260-7.

The win gives England a 1-0 win in the four-match series after a disastrous Test series — their first as world No. 1 in the five-day format.

Pakistan looked all at sea against Finn, who used the wind to move the ball. The 22-year-old lanky paceman, who showed his frustration at being sidelined in the Tests, trapped Mohammad Hafeez (5) and Asad Shafiq (0) off successive balls in his second over.

He then had Younis Khan (15) in his fourth and Imran Farhat (10) in his fifth to leave Pakistan tottering at 40-4.

Left-arm spinner Samit Patel then further shook Pakistan with the wickets of Misbah-ul-Haq (14), Shoaib Malik (7) and Shahid Afridi (28) to finish with 3-26. Graeme Swann, who took 2-19, had Umar Akmal (22) and Umar Gul (2).

Cook said setting a challenging total was important.

“It was really a good day for us,” the 27-year-old left-hander said. “We put together a good total, and then Finn and others bowled very well to make it tough for Pakistan.”

Pakistan captain Misbah blamed poor batting.

“Batting has been a bit of concern for us. I think 261 was not a big target on this pitch and we have to show discipline in the remaining matches. Cook, I think, led by example,” Misbah said.

Earlier Cook, whose previous best of 119 came against Sri Lanka at Lord’s last year, hit 14 boundaries during a fluent 142-ball innings against Pakistan’s spin-dominated attack.

Given out leg before off Mohammad Hafeez when 30, Cook successfully reviewed Australian umpire Simon Taufel’s decision and carried the batting until the 47th over, when he was finally bowled by Saeed Ajmal, who finished with a career-best 5-43.

Cook added an invaluable 131 runs for the third wicket with Ravi Bopara (50) to revive England after they lost two wickets in the 13th over.

England’s ploy to open with Kevin Pietersen, who managed just 67 runs in the Tests, worked well as Cook and his new partner put on 57 by the 13th over as Pakistan opened the bowling with pacemen Gul and Hafeez.

Pietersen, though, managed just 14 before he became one of two Afridi victims, bowled through the gate off a googly by the leg-spinner. Next ball, Afridi dismissed Jonathan Trott with a sharp turner.

Bopara notched his seventh half-century in one-day internationals off 67 delivery, but two balls later jumped out to drive Ajmal and was stumped. He hit four boundaries.

Cook hit Afridi for two fours to enter the 90s and then cover drove Ajmal to the boundary to reach three figures off 110 deliveries.

Ajmal’s previous best of 4-33 was against New Zealand on the same ground in 2009.

Patel (17) and Swann (13) put together 28 in the last 3.1 overs to propel England to a fighting total.

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