England thwarted the spinners that squeezed them in the first T20 international to secure a series lead, leaving them to maintain their unbeaten streak against Pakistan in the current series. Even as at least three of England’s first-choice white-ball picks were not available, they remained unstoppable on Saturday while chasing nearly 200 in a T20 game.
It has been a hallmark of their never before seen depth in the white-ball circuit, as pointed out by Eoin Morgan, who spearheaded the chase of 196 to propel through to a series lead.
Amid their clinical run-chase in Manchester, the home side should be aware of their bowling problems that surfaced in Manchester. All three pacers including Tom Curran, Saqib Mahmood, and Chris Jordan served plenty of freebies to Pakistan batsman to latch on to it.
Hence, ahead of facing Australia’s power-packed batting line-up as well this week, England might consider giving David Willey a game. The biggest positive, however, is that of Tom Banton and Dawid Malan, who justified the faith kept in him.
What began as a highly promising tour for Pakistan, having England on the brink in the first Test in Manchester has left them currently wanting to salvage pride. Babar Azam’s tactics in the powerplay came a little under the scanner as in a 51-run unbroken opening stand; he only had two boundaries to his credit. Even after racing to a 37-ball fifty, in his 44th ball, the skipper holed out to deep mid-wicket at the very wrong time.
Mohammad Hafeez’s whirlwind innings arguably raised plenty of optimism and played a central part in lifting them to 195 on a lifeless track. But their bowlers’ inexperience once again worked against them as they were highly inept in handling the pressure piled on by the relentless batting line-up. Pakistan’s seamers were no better than that of England. Shadab Khan, who kept the tourists in the game, failed to receive the support from any of his compatriots.
The likes of Shaheen Shah Afridi and Mohammad Amir both conceded runs at more than ten per over while the latter’s hamstring injury after only two overs further dented Pakistan’s cause. Their third seamer in Haris Rauf snared two.
However, the match had drifted well away from the tourists by then. While their batting displays no cause of concern, the bowling line-up indeed calls for a veteran to put pressure and secure their first victory of the tour. It’s the least they could do for Misbah-Ul-Haq, who concealed his face with his hands for the most part of the match.
With Tom Curran conceding more than 11 per over, England might be looking at David Willey, who enjoyed a fruitful outing against Ireland. Barring that, their line-up will likely remain the same. With Jofra Archer likely to be back against Australia, Saqib Mahmood might be playing his final game for the time being.
Probable XI: Jonny Bairstow (wk), Tom Banton, Dawid Malan, Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Sam Billings, Lewis Gregory, Chris Jordan, David Willey, Adil Rashid, Saqib Mahmood.
With Mohammad Amir likely to stay out of the game due to a hamstring injury, Wahab Riaz is expected to take his spot. While Shaheen Afridi was lacklustre as well, it seems unlikely that the visitors will opt for Mohammad Hasnain or hand a debut to Naseem Shah.
Probable XI: Babar Azam (c), Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Shaheen Afridi, Wahab Riaz, Haris Rauf.
The pitch for the second T20 international was a belter as it witnessed a high-scoring game. It’s anticipated to remain the same as there’s relatively little time to prepare a new one.
Similar to Sunday’s climate, the weather is unlikely to spoil the game on Tuesday too. The temperature would likely be 18 degrees Celcius while there is only three per cent chance of precipitation. The first T20I resulted in an abandonment due to heavy rains and wet outfield in the second half.
Head to head:
Played – 17
Won by England – 12
Won by Pakistan – 4
No result – 1
Stats that matter:
94 – Shoaib Malik needs 94 runs to get to 10000 runs in T20s.
287 – With 287 matches in T20s, Eoin Morgan is the most-capped amongst active players for England.
Despite the bowling being their Achilles Heel, England are expected to topple Pakistan once again, mainly due to their in-form batting line-up. Furthermore, the visitors’ inexperienced bowling line-up makes it more challenging to contain the opposition batsmen.