Hurt Pakistan promise best in must-win England game


Pakistan captain Azhar Ali promised his wounded team would fight hard in their must-win fourth and final one-day against England in Dubai on Friday, saying he was ready to face the music in case of a series loss.

Pakistan won the first one-dayer by six wickets but lost the next two and were left facing the must-win match to avoid a series defeat.

Ali said his players realised the importance of the match.

“It’s a must-win game for us but it won’t be easy because England played well in the last two games and won,” said Ali of England’s 95-run and six-wicket wins.

“But we all realise the importance of this game so we will do our hardest work to win and I am confident that if we play to our ability then we can definitely win this game.”

Ali, who took over as captain after Misbah-ul-Haq retired following the 2015 World Cup in March, said he would accept being replaced as captain.

“I don’t have control on future,” said Ali. “Things which are not in your control, you can’t control, so I think the best thing is to focus on what you have in your hands.

“I don’t have any fear of losing anything, I do the job honestly and no one in the team management has that fear, so (they) will accept whatever the outcome is.”

Under Ali Pakistan were whitewashed 3-0 by Bangladesh in May before he led the team to two back-to-back series against Zimbabwe (home and away) and Sri Lanka, away.

Ali said the team was hurt after the defeat in the third game, bowled out for a paltry 208 which England chased down with the loss of just four wickets.

“All of us were hurt,” said Ali. “We were in a position to score big and on that kind of pitch it wasn’t easy to chase so at that time 208 looked good and had we taken one or two wickets then the match could have been in our favour.

“All the batsmen, like the whole nation are hurt, so the message to the batsmen is that we should score the maximum runs,” said Ali, expressing his hope that leg-spinner Yasir Shah would be fit again after missing the last game with a knee injury.

“We will assess his progress and hopefully he is fit.”