The 2009 Ashes series featured the first Test match played in Wales, at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff. England drew the match thanks to a last-wicket stand by bowlers James Anderson and Panesar. A victory for each team followed before the series was decided at The Oval. Thanks to fine bowling by Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann and a debut century by Jonathan Trott, England regained the Ashes.
More selectorial problems abounded during Atherton's reign as new chairman of selectors and coach Ray Illingworth (then into his 60s) assumed almost sole responsibility for the team off the field. The youth policy which had seen England emerge from the West Indies tour of 1993–94 with some credit (though losing to a seasoned Windies team) was abandoned and players such as Gatting and Gooch were persisted with when well into their 30s and 40s. England continued to do well at home against weaker opponents such as India, New Zealand and a West Indies side beginning to fade but struggled badly against improving sides like Pakistan and South Africa. Atherton had offered his resignation after losing the 1997 Ashes series 3–2 having been 1–0 up after two matches – eventually to resign one series later in early 1998. England, looking for talent, went through a whole raft of new players during this period, such as Ronnie Irani, Adam Hollioake, Craig White, Graeme Hick and Mark Ramprakash. At this time, there were two main problems:
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Pakistan started off well with openers Kamran Akmal and Shahzaib Hasan adding 48 runs for the 1st wicket before Kamran Akmal was stumped by Kumar Sangakkara by the first delivery of Sanath Jayasuriya. Pakistan reached the target in 18.4 overs, with Shahid Afridi, who hit the winning runs, earning Man of the Match while Tillakaratne Dilshan was declared Man of the Series for his 317 runs at an average of 63.40. Pakistan's win often cheered on by crowds of fans from England's Pakistani communities, marked its first world title since Imran Khan's "cornered tigers" had won the 1992 World Cup."We all know how important this World Cup was with so much happening in Pakistan," Afridi said. "The guys motivated themselves for this World Cup."
84.2 OUT! Caught. Mitchell Starc to Imran Khan. Length ball, off stump backing away Slog, mis-timed in the air uncontrolled to mid on, by Wade. That will be the end. Imran Khan wanted a second piece of Starc but the left-arm seamer is too clever and he follows the batsmen, giving him no room. Straight up into the sky and Wade safely pouches the catch.
Pakistan visited West Indies in 1958 for five match test series. Pakistan drew the first test against them. It was Hanif Mohammad's match as he saved Pakistan when they were bowled out for 106 in West Indies reply of 579. Trailing huge by 473, Mohammad played the longest test match innings-a marathon 970 minutes for his match saving 337. The next three test went to West Indies favor before Pakistan won their first match against them by an innings and 1 run. In that match, it was another Mohammad performance. This time it was Hanif's brother Wazir Mohammad who score 189 out of Pakistan's 496 in reply of the host's 268. West Indies were bowled out for 227 in their second innings but the series went to them by 3-1.
The 1986 Austral-Asia Cup, played in Sharjah in UAE, saw a last-ball victory for Pakistan against their arch-rivals India, with Javed Miandad emerging as a national hero. India batted first and set a target of 245 runs, leaving Pakistan with a required run rate of 4.92 runs per over. Miandad came in to bat at number 3 and Pakistan lost wickets at regular intervals. Later recalling the match, he stated that his main focus was to lose with dignity. With 31 runs needed in the last three overs, Miandad hit a string of boundaries while batting with his team's lower order, until four runs were required from the last delivery of the match. Miandad received a leg side full toss from Chetan Sharma, which he hit for six over the midwicket boundary.
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The quarterfinal match of Pakistan was against Australia. Pakistan scored 213 runs. Australia started steadily but wickets regularly fell during the middle overs. The match gained a lot of attraction due to the on-field rivalry between Australian all-rounder, Shane Watson and Pakistani pacer, Wahab Riaz. Wahab's spell was praised despite not picking up many wickets. Pakistan dropped catches during the first power-play and conceded many runs. The partnership between Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell allowed Australia to win the match. As a result, Pakistan were knocked out of the tournament. The match was the final ODI for Pakistani's captain Misbah-ul-Haq and experienced all-rounder Shahid Afridi.
Pakistan started poorly in the 2015 Cricket World Cup. Their first match was against cricket rivals — India. India batted first and scored 300/7 with Virat Kohli scoring a century. After a poor start to the run chase, Pakistan's skipper Misbah-ul-Haq made a useful contribution of 76 runs but Pakistan lost the match by 76 runs. The second match against West Indies was a disaster. West Indies posted 310/6 on the board. In response, Pakistan lost 4 wickets for 1 run on the board, a first in an ODI match. The team was bowled out for 160 and lost the match by 150 runs.
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