An intriguing bi-lateral series is about to come to a close when England host Pakistan in the only T20 of the tour at Old Trafford.
Can the Asians end their tour on a high or will England’s immensely powerful batting line-up send Sarfraz Ahmed and his men back to the Sub-Continent with their tails between their legs? Let’s take a look below:
England vs Pakistan | Wednesday 7 September | Old Trafford| Manchester, England | 18:30
To Win Match
England 46/100 | Tie 35/1 | Pakistan 18/10
England come into this one-off T20 International with all of the momentum having steam-rolled their Asian counterparts 4-1 in the ODI segment of the bi-lateral series. To say England come into this clash as favourites would be a massive understatement.
If English cricket is geared toward any one of the three disciplines, it’s T20. In Alex Hales and Jason Roy they have two of the best limited overs openers in world cricket at the moment, second only to David Warner and Aaron Finch perhaps.
Run through the rest of the top order and you realise just how spoilt for choice England are. Joe Root, Jos Buttler, Eoin Morgan, Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali can all smash any attack out of the park; especially on flat English wickets. They should also have no real issues getting the better of this relatively lame Pakistan attack.
One feels that if the English can see off the likes of Sohail Tanvir and Mohammad Amir, they should be able to cash in on the uncapped Amad Butt and the occasionally expensive Wahab Riaz.
They’re not looking too bad in the bowling department either. Ben Stokes is able to bowl again following an injury-ravaged 2016 while Mark Wood’s pace can cause problems for any batsman on the planet. Ali and Adil Rashid can give you eight overs of quality spin while David Willey, Liam Plunkett and Chris Jordan are all hugely effective on their day.
I really do worry about the state of limited overs cricket in Pakistan. The side just seems crumble in the absence of Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan. One shudders to think how they’ll cope in the whites once those two retire.
Anyway, let’s focus on the matter at hand: Pakistan have a one-off T20 against England to deal with, the last of the limited overs cricket they’ll play before they take on Australia down under in mid-January. I don’t think they’ll get any joy there so they’ll need a massive performance here to give their fans something to cheer about – I don’t think they’ll win a single game in Australia.
They’ve called up the uncapped Amad Butt to the squad. The 21-year-old has only ever played six T20 matches for Islamabad United. I’m not sure he’ll get a start, and to be honest, I’m not sure I really understand why they flew him out for a single game. When one looks at it like that, one feels he might just have to start – we’ll have to wait and see.
Mohammad Hafeez has been injured and his place in the squad will be retained by Mohammed Irfan who had a few issues with cramp in the ODI series. While they have a few decent bowling options, I’m really worried about the Pakistanis batting depth. The only guys I can really see making an impact are Shoaib Malik, Sharjeel Khan and Sarfraz Ahmed. Even if all three do fire, I still think that the English have enough depth the outscore or chase down whatever Pakistan post quite comfortably.
Verdict: England 46/100
When they’re firing, absolutely nobody can hold a candle to this English side. An explosive batting line-up is backed by superb seam attack and complemented with spin options in both Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid – they’re tipped to doddle past the Pakistanis.
Value bet: England to hit the most sixes at 6/10
There’s not that much value here to be quite honest, but hear me out here. Do you really think that Sarfraz Ahmed and Shoaib Malik are going to clear the boundary more than the likes of Alex Hales, Jason Roy, Eoin Morgan, Jos Buttler and Joe Root? ‘Nuff said, big stake on England at 6/10.
Written by Jason Dewey for @Hollywoodbets.