Karachi, Sep 26 (IANS): England head coach Matthew Mott praised left-arm spin all-rounder Liam Dawson's fighting cameo of 34, terming it "special" despite facing a narrow three-run defeat to Pakistan in the fourth T20I at the National Stadium.
In the chase of 167, England needed 33 off the last three overs with three wickets in hand. Dawson got England ahead in the match as he smashed Mohammad Hasnain for a six and four straight fours to take 24 runs off the 18th over. He then took another boundary off Haris Rauf in the penultimate over to get the equation down to five runs off just ten balls.
But on the very next ball, Dawson tried to pull a fiery short ball, which went straight to mid-wicket fielder, ending his cameo at 34 off just 17 balls coming at a strike-rate of 200. It was a superlative effort from Dawson, who had a previous top score of 10 in T20Is. But his efforts went in vain as England lost their remaining two wickets to fall short by three runs.
"Taking wickets in the powerplay put us on the back foot, it took a really good partnership to get us back in it. Liam's knock was special. It took everyone by surprise, we didn't think in our wildest dreams we'd get in that position. It just shows in T20 cricket you've never got it done. Haris Rauf was put under pressure (in the 19th over) and he bowled his side to victory," said Mott on Sky Sports after the match ended.
Similar views on Dawson's blazing knock were echoed by stand-in captain Moeen Ali, who called the match an amazing game of cricket. But Ali was quick to admit that England could have chased down the target and was disappointed at falling short by three runs.
"Dawson, the way he batted tonight was outstanding. He had a brilliant game. I'm really pleased for him, sad that he couldn't get us over the line, but these things happen and he played really well. With nine runs needed with three wickets left, we feel like we should win that game, but it can happen, pressure happens."
Ali was in awe of how the fortunes in the match swung dramatically and applauded Pakistan for bowling better on the night. "I think it went both ways and it kept swinging. I thought the crowd were electric throughout the four games here, and it was an amazing game of cricket. We felt like we should have chased that down.
"Obviously we're disappointed we didn't, but we did lose a lot of wickets up top (14/3). We kept hanging in there and then (Harry) Brook played really, really well. Then we lost another couple of wickets quickly (to become 113/6). I actually thought they bowled really well. Both teams bowled well on that wicket and they (Pakistan) managed to get over the line."
With the seven-match series now at 2-2, the remaining three matches will be played at Lahore, with everything to play for both England and Pakistan.