Fri, Feb 17, 2012 - Page 18 News List

Cook blasts England to ODI victory

‘OUTSTANDING’:England captain Cook heaped praise on teammate Steven Finn for taking four wickets and surrendering a miserly 34 runs to anchor the triumph

AFP, ABU DHABI

Alastair Cook hit a second successive century to guide England to a 20-run win over Pakistan in the second one-day international on Wednesday, giving his team a 2-0 lead in the four-match series.

England put up a challenging 250-4 powered by Cook’s 102, before they bowled well to restrict Pakistan to 230 in 49 overs at Abu Dhabi Stadium.

Misbah-ul-Haq failed to match his counterpart during his 59-ball 47 as Pakistan lost track after being well set at 179-4, needing 72 in the last 11.1 overs.

Steven Finn, who took four wickets in the first match, finished with identical figures of 4-34 to anchor England’s win.

Pakistan got off to a good start with Mohammad Hafeez (26) and Imran Farhat (47) notching 61 by the 16th over, before Hafeez was caught at mid-wicket off James Anderson.

Farhat, who hit five boundaries, added 31 for the second wicket with Azhar Ali (31), before Samit Patel took two wickets in the space of 12 runs, removing Ali and Younis Khan (5).

Farhat fell to a silly run out, leaving Misbah and Umar Akmal (21) to add 37 for the fifth wicket, before Patel took a smart diving catch at cover to send Umar back with 72 still needed off 11.1 overs.

Shahid Afridi briefly threatened England with a run-a-ball 18, but his wicket and Craig Kieswetter’s sky-high catch to dismiss Misbah settled the issue for England.

Cook said he was confident that 250 was a winning total.

“It was a slightly different pitch from Monday, on which a 250-total was good enough, and we bowled well upfront. Finn was again outstanding,” said Cook, who won a second successive man-of-the-match award.

Misbah said fielding made the difference.

“I think the batsmen showed improvement, but the fielding was the main difference. We lost wickets in a cluster,” said Misbah, whose team lost their last five wickets for 23 runs.

Earlier, Cook scored his fourth century — the first England captain and ninth batsmen for his country to hit back-to-back hundreds in one-day internationals — to carry on the good work after his career-best 137 in Monday’s win.

The 27-year-old left-hander put on 67 for the opening wicket with Kevin Pietersen (26) after England won their second successive toss and batted. He also added 49 with Jonathan Trott (23) for the second wicket and 78 for the third with Ravi Bopara, who made an attractive 58.

Cook was again at his fluent best, hitting 10 boundaries off 121 balls, before he gave a return catch to leg-spinner Shahid Afridi in the 42nd over.

He hit paceman Umar Gul for two boundaries to reach 99 and then took a single off Abdul Rehman to reach the three-figure mark as he carried the batting right from the off.

England, who remained unchanged from the first match, also owed their progress to a dropped catch by part-time wicketkeeper Umar Akmal, who let Cook off on 28 off the bowling of Afridi, a costly lapse for Pakistan.

Ajmal, who finished with 1-54, again provided the breakthrough when he trapped Pietersen leg before wicket in the 16th over. Paceman Cheema had Trott caught behind, before Cook and Bopara followed their 131-run stand in the first match with another solid partnership.

Bopara, who hit four boundaries during his 66-ball knock, gave the finishing touch to the innings with a 56-run stand for the fourth wicket with Eoin Morgan, whose 25 not out included one six.

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