It will be two days shy of 20 years since Pakistan beat the Windies by 29 runs at the Bristol County Ground in the ICC World Cup when they return on Tuesday to play the third of five ODI matches against England.
Although England lead 1-0 (NR1) after two games, the hosts were given a proper run for their money in that one success. After a wash out in the first match, we saw both teams exhibit their immense depth of talent in a 734 runfest on a flat track at that Ageas Bowl on Saturday.
England posted a formidable 373/3 which included another singular 360 degree innings of 110* from Jos Buttler off just 55 balls (9×6 6×4). The Pakistan attack of course took a battering, but credit to them none of them were singled out for any serious treatment.
In reply, the Pakistan top and middle order batsmen played with great skill and maturity to take their score to within 12 runs of victory. Among many fine knocks, it was Fakhar Zaman’s fourth ODI century that was the backbone of their chase, which included 4x6s and 12x4s in a delightful 138 off 106 balls.
The English bowlers were made to work hard as the Pakistan batsmen closed in on their huge total. Yet death bowling did the trick for England, leaving Pakistan needing 19 off the last over. Chris Woakes showed his experience at the finish to restrict the visitor’s to just six runs, meaning England took the spoils by 12 runs to register their 50th win against Pakistan from 84 ODIs contested (L31, NR3).
ICC ranked #1 England have now won nine of their last 15 ODIs (L3, NR3) in contrast to #6 ranked Pakistan, who have lost ten of their last 15 (W2, NR2). However, Saturday’s match showed that there is very little between the sides when they are on their ‘A’ game.
Both teams thankfully came out unscathed on the injury front, although Jason Roy did have a run-in with a cameraman whilst fielding. There maybe some changes on Tuesday as both teams look to finalise their World Cup plans.
ENG vs PAK Probable XI
England: Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (C), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (wk), Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid, Chris Woakes, David Willey, Liam Plunkett.
Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed (C & wk), Asif Ali, Imad Wasim, Junaid Khan, Hasan Ali, Yasir Shah, Shaheen Afridi.
ENG vs PAK ODI – Players to watch out for
Setting a field for Buttler continues to be a captain’s nightmare, having eleven fielders sometimes just isn’t enough.
Imad Wasim with his darty left armers is always hard to get away and he can also chip in with useful runs down the order (ave 44.90).
Eoin Morgan has scored 6,884 ODI runs and needs 116 more for 7,000. Sarfaraz Ahed has scored 1,983 ODI runs and requires 17 to reach the 2,000 milestone.
Buttler has the highest strike rate among both teams with 119.88. Yasir Shah has returned the best bowling figures among both attacks with 6/26.