The Swalec Stadium was only three-quarters full on a humid, overcast day after a dreadful week for Pakistan with further newspaper allegations of corruption in their camp emerging overnight.
England, set 127 to win in the first of two matches scheduled for Cardiff, were struggling on 62 for five at the halfway stage with Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi taking two cheap wickets with his brisk wrist spin.
However, Eoin Morgan was badly dropped at short fine-leg on 13 by Shoaib Akhtar attempting a reverse sweep and England eventually reached their target with 17 balls to spare.
After Paul Collingwood had asked Pakistan to bat following a 30-minute rain delay, England’s premier bowler Graeme Swann showed his versatility in all forms of the game with two for 14 from his four overs. Pakistan scored from only 10 of the off-spinner’s deliveries.
Michael Yardy was almost as parsimonious from the other end, taking one for 21 with his flat left-armers.A late burst of 38 runs from 29 balls between Umar Akmal (35 not out) and Afridi (16 not out), who was dropped twice, took Pakistan to 126 for four. It was the first time they had failed to hit a six in a T20 match.
Shoaib Akhtar, 35 last month, recaptured the searing pace of his youth, albeit in the knowledge that he only needed to bowl a total of 24 deliveries with an opening-wicket maiden.
Although England faltered midway, losing four consecutive wickets from the last ball of an over, their target was always too small.