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Hard work has paid off - Liam Plunkett

Hard work has paid off - Liam Plunkett
Liam Plunkett is the leading wicket-taker in the ongoing T20I series against Pakistan with six wickets from two games.
©REUTERS / Action Images

England fast bowler Liam Plunkett feels that his hard work over the last few weeks has finally paid off after a man of the match performance in the second Twenty20 International against Pakistan in Dubai.

Plunkett, who replaced the injured Mark Wood in England's limited overs squad finally got a chance to play in the tour in the first game of the ongoing T20I series. 

The 30-year-old is currently the leading wicket taker in the series with six wickets from two games having picked three wickets in both the matches. 

Stating that he was always working hard despite not being selected in the other two formats, Plunkett is pleased that the hard work is producing results.

“It was nice to get a go," he told Sky Sports.

“I have been working hard on my fitness and skills for T20 in the last three weeks while the one-dayers have been going on.

“I felt like they have come (good) in the last few days.

“I feel good.” 

In the first T20I Plunkett was the most economical bowler having conceded just 21 runs in his four overs while accounting for three wickets. 

Despite going for 15 runs in his very first over in the second T20I, Plunkett picked up a wicket in each of his next three overs to dent Pakistan’s momentum.

Reflecting on his match winning performance in the second game, Plunkett revealed that he had to change his tactics as Pakistan got off to a fantastic start unlike in the first game.

“You start off, you want to run in hard and you want to hit the top of the off stump.

“When he (the batsman) hits the ball out of the ground, you readjust.

“It was different today than yesterday.

“They got off to a flier today.

“I thought I had to change (in the) second over and mix the pace up a little bit.” 

When Pakistan needed 47 runs from the last three overs Shahid Afridi struck three sixes off Chris Woakes in the 18th over of the innings.

The pressure was evident on Woakes as he bowled an eight-ball over but he also managed to dismiss the dangerous Afridi.

Plunkett gave credit to 26-year-old, who kept his cool and bowled England to a win by defending 11 runs in the last over of the match.

“He (Afridi) obviously got off to a flier.

“Did not help that we gave him a half volley to start it off.

“Credit to Woakesy (Chris Woakes) there.

“He kept his nerves and finished it off."

England suffered a defeat in the Test series against Pakistan but have come back strongly to clinch the ODI and the T20I series.

Expressing that it was not an easy task to beat Pakistan in the limited overs matches in the sub-continent, Plunkett lauded the entire team for their efforts. 

“To beat Pakistan in the one-dayers and also this (the T20I series) in the subcontinent is a massive achievement.

“Not many teams do that.

“We thought we did not play our best cricket today and still won.

“So, it is a huge hats-off to the guys.” 

England will finish their tour of the United Arab Emirates with the final T20I against Pakistan which will be played on 30th November in Sharjah. 

© Cricket World 2015