England 150-7; Pakistan 112 | 2nd Twenty20 international

• England 150-7; Pakistan 112
• England win by 38 runs

England kept the Mobilink Jazz Twenty20 Cup series alive, producing an energetic and feisty performance in the field to bowl Pakistan out for 112 and defend a score of 150 built around a resourceful and at times effortlessly powerful half-century from Jonathan Bairstow.

"The way Johnnie batted was huge," Stuart Broad, the captain, said. "He showed experience beyond his years to adapt to conditions really well. The way he struck the ball was what we've seen in the nets. He's got a very exciting international future ahead of him."

On another mild desert winter night Broad won the toss and chose to bat. On Thursday England had crumpled batting second in the face of high-craft death bowling: here was a chance for an unchanged team to respond immediately via the regenerated swagger of Kevin Pietersen at the top of the order, a man who, according to Graeme Swann, has transformed his batting by "pushing the 'don't care' button". Pietersen duly swept the first ball of the match from Mohamed Hafeez for a carefree four and then flayed Aizaz Cheema through the off side.

With the series on the line the stadium was as full as it has been all winter, a bumper crowd undeterred by the start of the working week on Sunday or by the fact Dubai Sport City remains, for all its aspirations, an inaccessible ghost town set in a Bladerunner-esque dust-scape of half-built tower blocks. The first expat cheer of the night came in the fifth over as Pietersen swept Saeed Ajmal meekly to Umar Gul, a soft dismissal for a man in glorious form. Ravi Bopara departed three runs later, lbw to Umar Gul, and Eoin Morgan missed a straight one from Hafeez, adding weight to his candidacy as the most patently out-of-form world No1-ranked player in recent cricketing history.

Craig Kieswetter was caught at long-on off Afridi for a muscular 31 to make it 79 for four, but Bairstow had already set off with great purpose, lifting Afridi for an effortless straight six. With Samit Patel promoted above Jos Buttler, a scampering partnership took England to their hundred in the 14th over.

It had emerged before the match that Dav Whatmore will start as Pakistan coach in March, bringing with him Julien Fountain as Pakistan's new fielding coach, a job description that sounds at times as if it might turn up alongside the likes of the chocolate teapot or the underwater barbecue. But perhaps his influence is already being felt: Ajmal's direct hit from the deep ran out Patel as England stuttered.

Buttler's dismissal was an exact facsimile of his last: bowled attempting the same scoop shot to the same bowler, seconds after his previous dismissal was replayed on the big screen. "I thought that was a great shot," Broad said, offering a sympathetic interpretation. "That's a boundary option for him. You've got to back your players to be bold." The counter-argument may be that, of all the bowlers in the world, Gul is the one you might consider not playing the shot to early in your innings, but Broad's brio is to be commended. Bairstow reached an excellent fifty off 42 balls, a pulled six off Gul in the final over lending late urgency.

Pakistan's reply began in a blur of incident. As Broad said: "We came out with a lot of energy in the field and took our chances. It was a really powerful fielding display from a young, athletic team." It was a spikiness that spooked Pakistan's top order into some rash shots. Hafeez was caught by Pietersen at slip off Steven Finn's second ball, Asad Shafiq was caught and bowled in Jade Dernbach's first over and Umar Akmal was well caught by Morgan at backward point off Finn, who bowled well here. The feisty Awais Zia pulled Finn for six to get off the mark but then swiped scorelessly at the other 12 deliveries he faced: Pietersen's catch at mid-off from the bowling of Broad was cricketing euthanasia.

Graeme Swann then had Shoaib Malik caught in the deep to leave Pakistan 50 for five and bring to the wicket Dubai's favourite cricketing son Shahid Afridi. While Misbah-ul-Haq dropped anchor – and was jeered by sections of the Pakistani crowd – Afridi attacked, carving hungrily to take 17 off Patel's first over. A promisingly violent partnership with Hammad Azam was ended by a swirling catch by Buttler off Bopara as Pakistan subsided. Swann was superbly wily, conceding only 17 runs and taking two wickets, and Broad wonderfully controlled as ever.

The teams now travel to Abu Dhabi with the series level at 1-1. "Monday is a massive match for us," Broad said. "We can put ourselves in a World Cup-type situation because we want to go home with the trophy."


Barney Ronay at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium

The GuardianTramp

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