The England Cricket Board (ECB) has left no stone unturned in the cause of resuming cricketing action. After successfully conducting two three-match Test series against West Indies and Pakistan and a three-match ODI series against Ireland pushed in between, England is prepped up to host Pakistan for a T20I series, to take the well-deserved credit for the resumption of all three formats of the game after an agonizingly long pandemic-imposed sabbatical of cricket.
The first T20I of the three-match series is scheduled on Friday, 28th August at the Old Trafford, Manchester. On one hand, where Pakistan will resume their T20 game 8 months after playing against Bangladesh in January 2020, England will feature in a T20I encounter straight after the series against South Africa in November 2019.
There are changes aplenty in both sides and with the likes of Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, and Jofra Archer all out of contention, the Eoin Morgan-led England is going to look entirely different from what we saw a few days ago. For the Pakistan side, the addition of Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Amir has given their strong bowling artillery more strength. After a 1-0 defeat in the Test series, Babar Azam and his men will be wanting to secure a lead in the series-opener at Old Trafford.
Pitch and playing conditions
The track at Manchester has been known for assisting the spinners and therefore the turners will have some purchase off the wicket. There have not been too many high scoring encounters at the Old Trafford and any score in the range of 160-170 has been par. There have been quite a few showers in the week gone by and there are chances as per today’s forecast as well. This will mean the conditions will be damp and the outfield might be on the slower side.
The newly-appointed skipper Babar Azam will be seen opening alongside Fakhar Zaman as Imam-ul-Haq has been unavailable right from the start of the tour. The team management will have a tough choice to make for the No. 3 between youngster Haider Ali and the experienced of Mohammad Hafeez.
The top three will be assisted by Shoaib Malik, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, and all-rounder Shadab Khan in the middle-order. And given his recent Man-of-the-series performance in the Test series, Mohammad Rizwan might pip Sarfaraz Khan to find his spot in the playing XI.
The return of Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz has made their bowling attack even more lethal as young guns Naseem Shah and Shaheen Shah Afridi are already coming with good rhythm from the Test series. This could well mean that Mohammad Hasnain and Haris Rauf will have to sit out as one amongst Shah or Afridi is certain to play.
Predicted XI- Babar Azam (C), Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali/Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan (WK), Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, Shaheen Shah Afridi/Naseem Shah
With Jason Roy’s exit due to a side strain, the 21-year old Tom Banton should be seen alongside their regular opener, Jonny Bairstow. It also seems that Dawid Malan is set to get another chance at No. 3.
England has a plethora of all-rounders in their middle-order in alongside skipper Eoin Morgan. Sam Billings will be followed by Tom Curran whereas given Manchester’s track record of helping the spinners, all-rounder Moeen Ali will be in contention for sure.
David Willey had an outstanding run in the series against Ireland and will look to emulate his form whereas Saqib Mahmood will be the other pacer. Adil Rashid will have much on offer and he will look to unify successfully with Moeen Ali.
Predicted XI- Tom Banton, Jonny Bairstow (WK), Dawid Malan, Eoin Morgan (C), Sam Billings, Moeen Ali, Tom Curran, Dawid Willey, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, Saqib Mahmood
Probable Top Performers
Moeen Ali – England | Babar Azam – Pakistan
Match Timings- 10:30 PM (IST), 6:00 PM (local).
TV– Sony Six, Sony Six HD
Live Streaming– The match can be streamed online on Sony Liv website, app, and Airtel stream
The prediction is for Pakistan to win the match
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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