The cricketing fraternity shall remember England for many things but not more than what they have done in these sheer catastrophic and trying times i.e. bringing back cricket to life. Having conducted of a couple of successful Test series against West Indies and Pakistan along with a three-match ODI series against Ireland squished in between, England is now set to host a T20I series versus Pakistan, to mark itself responsible for the resumption of all three formats of the game after a near-perpetual-looking COVID-enforced sabbatical of cricket.
The first one of the three T20Is will be played at the Old Trafford, Manchester on Friday, 28th August. Pakistan will resume their T20 game straight after playing against Bangladesh in January this year, whereas England will play their first international T20 encounter after the series against South Africa in November 2019.
Under routine cricketing circumstances, a series lost by an Asian country touring England might not pinch as much. However, with the pain of following militaristic bio-bubble norms, playing in isolation of crowd in the stadium, incessant sprays of sanitizing chemicals on the body, and lacking the vivacious celebrations after wickets, the only way to cheer oneself up would be a victory.
And after all of this, returning home with hands empty will pinch Pakistan harder than it will any other time. So after a 1-0 defeat in the recently concluded Test series, Pakistan will be keen to overturn their fortunes
The wicket at Manchester has historically helped spinners and therefore some turn will be on offer. In the last few years, there have not been outrageously high scoring encounters here and any score close to 160 has been par. There is a little bit of expectation of rain on Friday and consistent rain over the last week will mean the conditions will be damp and the outfield might be on the slower side.
In Imam-ul-Haq’s absence, the freshly-appointed skipper Babar Azam is expected to open the proceedings with the bat alongside Fakhar Zaman. It will be interesting to see whether the Pakistan team management will like to give youngster Haider Ali a chance ahead of the experience of Mohammad Hafeez.
The openers will be supported by Shoaib Malik, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, and all-rounder Shadab Khan in the middle-order. Meanwhile, given wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan’s scalding form and a fitting Man-of-the-Series award in the Test series, he should be the preferred choice over Sarfaraz Ahmed.
Pakistan’s pace battery looks daunting and more so after the return of Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz. However, this means that Mohammad Hasnain and Haris Rauf have to be benched as one amongst youngsters Naseem Shah or Shaheen Shah 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
For England, the team is going to look entirely different than their Test setup with the likes of Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, and Jofra Archer all out of contention. With Jason Roy ruled out due to a side strain, the 21-year old Tom Banton should be paired alongside their regular opener Jonny Bairstow whereas Dawid Malan should be an ideal choice for No. 3.
England has a host of all-rounders to beef up their middle-order alongside skipper Eoin Morgan. Sam Billings is set to perform his duties followed by Tom Curran. And given that Manchester’s track has always assisted spinners, spin all-rounder Moeen Ali will be in the eleven for sure.
David Willey had a magnificent run in the series gone by 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
- Shoaib Malik (9892) is 108 runs away from 10,000 T20 runs.
- Mohammad Hafeez (1992) needs 8 more runs to cross 2000 T20I runs.
- Shadab Khan (48) needs 2 more wickets to achieve the 50 wicket milestone in T20Is.
Head to head
Matches Played- 15 | England Won- 10 | Pakistan Won- 4 | Tied- 1
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 app.
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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