Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq scored a majestic 91 not out to lead Pakistan to a thrilling four-wicket victory over England in their final World Cup warmup at Sydney Cricket Ground on Wednesday.
The 40-year-old notched up five fours and two sixes in his 99-ball knock, turning the match in a fourth-wicket partnership of 133 with Umar Akmal.
Akmal fell for 65 to leave Sohaib Maqsood (20) and then Shahid Afridi to help their captain guide the 1992 world champions past England’s total of 250 for eight with seven balls to spare.
Afridi (eight not out) scored the winning runs with successive fours but rode his luck with the decisive second, which was almost caught at mid-off.
Pakistan’s batting had been far from convincing in their win over Bangladesh on Monday and they will now head to Adelaide to face reigning champions India in their tournament opener on Sunday with renewed confidence.
England’s bowling spearheads James Anderson and Stuart Broad took a couple of wickets apiece to keep the contest alive until the last few overs but the English were punished for anything loose.
Misbah brought up his half century with a thumping six into the noisy band of Pakistan fans packed into the members’ stand and Akmal reached the milestone in the same manner 10 overs later.
Ehsan Adil had earlier set the tone for a fine Pakistan bowling performance in an opening over which accounted for Moeen Ali (4).
Gary Ballance came in at number three with a point to prove in his first game since September after recovering from a fractured finger, however, and he steadied the ship with a well-crafted 57.
It was only after he had departed with an ill-executed slog sweep and out-of-sorts skipper Eoin Morgan fell for a duck attempting a lap sweep to a full toss, however, that England really got a grip on their innings.
Joe Root provided the adhesive with a sparkling 85 off 89 balls and combined with Chris Jordan (31 not out) to steer his side towards a competitive tally.
England rested Ian Bell, Chris Woakes, James Taylor and Steve Finn but all should return when they open their World Cup campaign against co-hosts Australia on Saturday.