Time: July 20, 11 PM IST
Venue: Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester
The English summer has dried up the pitches, and the one at Manchester too will open as the match progresses and the spinners will continue to play a pivotal role. However, the highest score of 172 in the ongoing English T20 League isn’t encouraging. Perhaps, we may not see the range of shots we saw in the first T20Is. We never know, though. The power-hitting in the series thus far has been outrageous from both teams.
Eoin Morgan is in search of form, and he wouldn’t want to rest himself again. With him back, there will be selection headaches. Dawid Malan, the No. 1 T20I batter, needs to click and Liam Livingstone has been breathtaking. Maybe, Jonny Bairstow will have to warm the bench this time: he is the only player who doesn’t have to prove anything before the World T20.
Probable XI for England: Jason Roy, Jos Buttler (wk), Dawid Malan, Moeen Ali, Liam Livingstone, Eoin Morgan (c), Lewis Gregory/Tom Curran, David Willey, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, Saqib Mahmood
Pakistan finally have figured out what they want out of their players. They wouldn’t want to make unnecessary changes.
Probable XI for Pakistan: Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Babar Azam (c), Fakhar Zaman, Sohaib Maqsood, Mohammad Hafeez, Azam Khan, Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hasnain, Shaheen Shah Afridi
We have opted for a fantasy cricket team based on the recent performances, overall impact, and credit points.
Players to watch out for
Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan were the highest run-scorers respectively in the Pakistan T20 League. While Babar is ranked No. 2 in ICC T20I Rankings for batters, Rizwan is rising through the ranks and is placed at No. 11. The duo has put up 150-run and 50-run stands in the series so far.
Jos Buttler averages over 50 as a batter in the shortest format, making him a star player in fantasy cricket. In his comeback game, he smashed 59 off 39 and laid the much-needed foundation. He also has a knack for scoring big in all-important games.
Moeen Ali played breathtaking innings at No. 3 for Chennai in India T20 League. With Malan already taking over the position, he has to bat lower. However, given his batting style, nothing matters. First, a strike rate of 225 brought England back in the game and then sealed it off with bowling figures of 2 for 33.
Liam Livingstone has scores of 103 off 43 and 38 off 23. He fits well in England’s fearless brand of cricket. He has hit a total of 12 sixes in two matches.
Saqib Mahmood looked a better bowler in the second T20I. England figured out that employing him in middle-overs on a flat wicket would pay dividends. The result was a three-wicket haul.
Shaheen Afridi has been the best bowler of the series. He has taken 4 wickets with a strike rate of 10.7. His death bowling especially has been incredible.
England were bowled out in both matches, with scores of 201 and 200. Their approach is clear: they won’t stop hitting even if they lose wickets. Pakistan, on the other hand, looked out of sorts after Babar and Rizwan walked back. They too have destructive hitters, but losing wickets in heaps can dent their confidence. To put things into perspective, wickets will fall but the team that doesn’t stop hitting will run the victory lap.