Pakistan put the latest off-field distractions to one side to beat England by 38 runs in the fourth one-day international at Lord's and set up a NatWest Series decider.
The day began with doubts over whether the match would go ahead at all after Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ijaz Butt made an unsubstantiated allegation that England had been bribed to lose the third match of the series on Friday, which Pakistan won by 23 runs.
Set a target of 266, England looked on course for victory when opening pair Andrew Strauss and Steven Davies compiled a century stand at a run-a-ball.
But, Davies (49) dragged a Saeed Ajmal (2-31) doosra onto his stumps, the start of a collapse that saw England bowled out for 227 in 46.1 overs.
Paceman Umar Gul again revelled under the floodlights, following his six-wicket haul at the Oval on Friday with an equally impressive 4-32, all four of his victims bowled.
The series is level at 2-2 ahead of Wednesday's finale at the Rose Bowl.
Well as Gul and fellow fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar (3-59) bowled, England were in a strong position to clinch the series with a game to spare thanks to Strauss' 68 at the top of the order.
But Davies, Jonathan Trott, involved in a pre-match confrontation with Pakistan's perennial reserve Wahab Riaz, and Strauss fell in the space of six overs to check the home side's charge at 127-3.
Ajmal accounted for Davies, Trott (4) was unfortunate to play Shahid Afridi's leg-spin onto his stumps via bat and pad, and Strauss, who hit eight fours in his 24th ODI half-century, cut hard to Fawad Alam at backward point off Shoaib.
An out-of-sorts Paul Collingwood used up 18 deliveries to make four before being bowled by Gul, who found some reverse swing with the old ball.
Ian Bell (28), preferred to Ravi Bopara in England's starting line-up after being brought into the squad following his century for Warwickshire on the same ground in Saturday's CB40 final, and Eoin Morgan (27) hinted at a recovery until Bell was caught by sub fielder Azhar Ali in the covers off Ajmal in the 37th over.
Gul and Shoaib, who carried on bowling despite appearing to suffer a side strain, proved too much for the lower order - Michael Yardy (9), Tim Bresnan (1), Graeme Swann (12) and Stuart Broad (2) all having their stumps rearranged as Pakistan completed their triumph in fine style.
Earlier, a patient 64 from opening batsman Mohammad Hafeez and explosive late cameos from Afridi and Abdul Razzaq allowed Pakistan to make the most of their decision to bat first.
Hafeez and opening partner Kamran Akmal put on 62 in 13.4 overs to lay the platform for a total of 265-7.
Broad (2-44) made the first breakthrough for England by bouncing out Akmal (28), whose top-edged pull gave Strauss a straightforward catch at square-leg.
And, as so often in the recent past, the introduction of spinner Swann turned things around for England.
Swann bowled Asad Shafiq (11) with his fifth delivery and went on to run through the middle order, adding the scalps of Mohammad Yousuf (3), Hafeez and Fawad (29), to record figures of 4-37 from his 10 overs.
At 155-5 in the 38th over, Pakistan were in danger of falling away but skipper Afridi and Razzaq rode to their rescue.
Afridi hit three fours and two sixes to inject some impetus before holing out off Bresnan's bowling for a 22-ball 37, leaving the stage free for Razzaq.
The all-rounder finished unbeaten on 44 from 20 deliveries as Pakistan took 42 from the final two overs, 21 apiece off James Anderson (0-54) and Bresnan (1-62).
Razzaq smashed seven fours and a six in the space of 11 balls, including finishing the innings with five successive boundaries.