England 241-6 (Pietersen 130) beat
Pakistan 237 (Dernbach 4-45) by 4 wickets
Fourth One-Day International, Dubai
England sealed a rare One-Day International series whitewash with a relatively comfortable victory in the fourth and final match in Dubai. Kevin Pietersen was once again the hero for the tourists as he became the second Englishman in little over a week to score back-to-back ODI centuries.
His measured innings of 130 from 153 balls helped England to weather the top-order collapse of three for 18 that had followed the early departure of the in-form Alastair Cook for four.
Cook’s first failure of the series was followed by a brief rebuild by Jonathan Trott (15) and Pietersen, but Trott was soon caught at midwicket off Abdur Rehman to start the mini-collapse. Saeed Ajmal (three for 62) then returned to torment England with a brace of wickets – those of Eoin Morgan for 15 and debutant Jos Buttler for a second ball duck – to leave them stuttering on 68 for four, before Craig Kieswetter joined Pietersen to share a stand of 109 for the fifth wicket.
Kieswetter lacked the fluency of Pietersen against the spinners but showed admirable determination in making 43 from 62 balls; and by the time he was needlessly run-out England were almost home, with Samit Patel (17 not out) and Tim Bresnan providing the finishing touches to see England home with four balls to spare.
Earlier, England had made several changes to their eleven – handing debuts to left-armer Danny Briggs and big-hitting wicket-keeper Jos Buttler – prior to dismissing Pakistan for 237 from their 50 overs.
Jade Dernbach, recalled to the side in place of the resting James Anderson, claimed the first of his four wickets by dismissing Mohammad Hafeez in the second over, before the hosts fought back with a second wicket partnership of 111 between youngsters Azhar Ali (58 and Asad Shafiq (65). The rest of the Pakistan batsman – Misbah-ul-Haq aside – were relatively poor, however, and they lost six wickets for 58 runs in the last ten overs to squander the promising start.
For England, Tim Bresnan returned figures of one for 47 on his return from injury, while Danny Briggs showed that he was not overawed by the step up in standard, and was his customary economical self on his way to figures of two for 39.
The first of three Twenty20 Internationals between the two sides is on Thursday at the same venue.
© Cricket World 2012