Paul Collingwood believes there is “no shame” in losing to an innings as destructive as the one Abdul Razzaq produced.
Razzaq bludgeoned five sixes as he hit an unbeaten 46 in just 18 deliveries to carry his side to a four-wicket win to square the Twenty20 series against England 1-1 in Dubai.
Until his arrival at the crease, England had looked odds on for victory after Kevin Pietersen (62no) and Graeme Swann (three for 14) had teed the side up for victory.
But with a player of Razzaq’s power clearing the boundary with ease the winning target of 149 was too small.
He hit 17 off debutant Ajmal Shahzad in the penultimate over to clinch the win with six balls remaining.
England captain Collingwood was suitably impressed.
“There’s no shame in losing like that, our two performances have been very, very good here,” said the all-rounder. “In Twenty20 cricket it only takes one batsman to have an exceptional innings and that’s exactly what he did tonight.
“It was pure hitting and very hard to bowl at him.
“We’ve done some fantastic stuff in the last few games and the boys should be very proud. They’ve been working on their skills and we feel we are moving forward in this format of the game.”
Shahzad had earlier tasted the positive side of international cricket when he accounted for both Pakistan openers in his first over for England.
“He’s come in against the world’s best Twenty20 side and it’s not easy when you’re bowling against guys like that,” said Collingwood of the Yorkshireman.
“But he’s got the talent and he certainly has the pace and the aggression to go with it.
“When you’ve got a combination like that you learn all the time. He’ll learn a hell of a lot from this experience. I know he enjoyed it, which is a good thing. He certainly didn’t shy away from it. He’s got all the attributes.”
Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik, who now plans to hand the reins back to Shahid Afridi for the World Twenty20 at the end of April, was glad to have led his side to a confidence-boosting victory.
After a host of behind-the-scenes upheavals, injuries and the dispiriting tour whitewash at the hands of Australia, Malik believes the result can help with side’s preparations.
“We needed this performance before the Twenty20 World Cup,” said the all-rounder.
“We were struggling before these two matches and the way our boys played was awesome to see.
“It was all a team effort but the way Razzaq batted was awesome.
“His hitting was absolutely clean and marvellous. He’s one of the best players in our team.”
Razzaq himself put the explosive finale down to positive thinking in the middle.
“When I went to the crease I was very confident,” he said.
“I was telling Fawad Alam we should win this one. I was saying ‘you can, you will’ and we did.
“The team needed that, for me to hit the ball hard. Thankfully I hit five sixes because the team needed that to get victory.”