Abdul Razzaq's big hitting was the decisive factor in Pakistan's 38-run victory in the fourth NatWest Series one-dayer, concluded England captain Andrew Strauss.
Razzaq smashed an unbeaten 44 from 20 balls at Lord's as Pakistan plundered 42 off their final two overs to boost their total to 265-7 before bowling out England for 227 in 46.1 overs.
"Abdul Razzaq played exceptionally well at the end and gave them some real momentum going into their innings," Strauss told Sky Sports.
"He surprised us in the last two overs. The powerplay overs had gone very well for us up to that point. He unleashed and you've got to give credit where it's due, it was outstanding hitting."
Strauss, who made 68 in England's reply, added: "We got off to a fantastic start (an opening partnership of 113 with Steven Davies).
"We looked like we had the game reasonably under control, but we weren't able to continue that momentum through the middle period.
"Pakistan bowled exceptionally well with the older ball. We're very disappointed to have lost the game.
"That middle period...it would have been better to have been closer to the run-rate required so we've got to look at where we went wrong and we'll be doing that tomorrow."
Strauss' attentions now turn to Wednesday's series decider at the Rose Bowl.
"They've got a lot of match-winners in their side," he said. "It's important to remember it's 2-2 and it's a winner-takes-all affair at the Rose Bowl."
Strauss had begun the day with a strongly-worded personal statement, refuting Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ijaz Butt's unexpected claims that England players had received "enormous sums of money" to deliberately lose the previous encounter at the Oval on Friday.
But once an England and Wales Cricket Board statement, released with less than an hour to go to the start, revealed that the hosts were prepared to take the field, it was Pakistan who began and finished the contest by far the best. Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi reflected on a job well done after his team's triumph.
"As a captain and coach [Waqar Younis], we're both doing the right job and we know what we're got to do," he said.
"The boys are performing to their ability. This is what Pakistan is all about."
He added: "Every game we try to improve. All the guys know how important every game is for us - for me, for my team and for my country.
"We're here to play some good cricket. The only thing we can do is put in 100 percent effort."
Afridi was confident paceman Shoaib Akhtar would be fit for Wednesday despite holding his side in the latter part of his bowling spell.
"He's 35 - he'll get some good rest tomorrow," said Afridi. "He's a fighter and he will definitely play in the next game."