England register massive win over Pakistan in first ODI

England players celebrate after beating Pakistan by 130 runs in the first ODI in Abu Dhabi Getty Images

Abu Dhabi: Feb 13, 2012

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 at 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 number one 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 (five) and Asad Shafiq (nought) off successive balls in his second over.

He then had Younis Khan (15) in his fourth and Imran Farhat (ten) 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 (seven) and Shahid Afridi (28) to finish with 3-26. Graeme Swann, who took 2-19, had Umar Akmal (22) and Umar Gul (two).

Cook said setting a challenging total was important.

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

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul Haq 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,” said Misbah.

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 and shaped well 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 paceman Gul and Hafeez.

Pietersen though managed 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 fifty 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 the three-figure mark off 110 deliveries.

Ajmal’s previous best of 4-33 was against New Zealand on this 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.

The second match will be played here on Wednesday while the last two will be played in Dubai on February 18 and 21. (AFP)

Brief Scores: England 260 for 7 in 50 overs (Alastair Cook 137, Ravi Bopara 50; Saeed Ajmal 5 for 43, Shahid Afridi 2 for 55) bt Pakistan 130 all-out in 35 overs (Shahid Afridi, Umar Akmal 22; Steve Finn 4 for 34, Samit Patel 3 for 26) by 130 runs

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