اردو

Pakistan look to fightback after falling short in second ODI

England have a one-nil lead in the five-match series

PHOTO: Reuters

Pakistan and England will square off once again in the third one-day international (ODI) of the five-match series, at Bristol on May 14, 2019.

England have a one-nil lead in the series, courtesy a close victory, by 12 runs, in the second ODI. It must be noted that the first ODI was called-off due to persistent rain.

Pakistan team in focus

Despite the defeat in the second ODI, opener Fakhar Zaman’s prolific century was one of the positives for Pakistan.    

Zaman seems to have rediscovered his old mojo as he came out all guns blazing, chasing the target of 374, in the previous match. His 138 off 106 balls have reignited hopes of a similar performance — when he stole the limelight during Pakistan’s triumphant International Cricket Council (ICC) Champions Trophy campaign in 2017.

All-rounder Shoaib Malik has rejoined the team, which should provide a big boost to a side in need of experience. He should ideally slot in place of Haris Sohail, so that Pakistan can have an attacking option in the batting department.

Middle-order batsman Asif Ali impressed in the last match with a great 50 of 36 balls. Power hitting has been Pakistan’s Achilles heel for quite some time. If Ali can consistently perform in a similar fashion, we can expect fireworks in the third ODI as well.

Leg-spinner Shadab Khan’s absence has severely dented the team combination of Pakistan. His replacement Yasir Shah has not been lethal as he managed to take just one wicket, giving away 60 runs in 7 overs at an economy of 8.57. Spin therefore is a major concern for Pakistan at the moment. Shah will have to step up in order to put pressure back on England.

All-rounder Imad Wasim has also not been able to perform at his very best. He has been easy to score off and hasn’t been able to take wickets, which has dented Pakistan’s chances. He will need to start taking wickets in order to help Pakistan stop England from making a huge score.

Pacer Mohammad Amir had a viral infection which stopped him from playing in the second ODI and he will not take part in the third ODI as well. Fellow pacer Junaid Khan is the likely contender to join Hasan Ali and Shaheen Shah Afridi in Pakistan’s bowling armoury. 

England team in focus

England is the number one ranked side in this format and proved their depth in all departments, during the second ODI against Pakistan.

The explosive wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler continued his fine form with a scintillating hundred off just fifty balls. He will be keen to continue his performances for the remainder of the series in order to build momentum for his team ahead of the World Cup.

All-rounder Ben Stokes did not play a significant role in the second ODI but he can turn the game around in an instant. His bowling and lower-order batting are crucial for the balance of the England side.

All-rounder Moeen Ali and his spin partner Adil Rashid will look to take more wickets as spin has not really played a big role so far in the series.

Pacer Jofra Archer impressed in the first ODI and could get a chance in the third ODI against Pakistan. His pace and consistent lines have made him the player to look out for in this series. He will be trying to make a mark as England finalise their World Cup Squad.

Pitch and weather conditions

The pitch at Bristol usually produces high scoring encounters. The last time England played an ODI match at Bristol, they scored 369 runs against West Indies.

The weather conditions on match day are likely to be cloudy which could assist the fast-bowlers. Chances of rain are low which should mean that, in all probability, we will get a match devoid of interruptions.

Squads

England: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Joe Denly, Chris Jordan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Vince, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

Pakistan: Sarfaraz Ahmed (c), Fakhar Zaman, Imamul Haq, Abid Ali, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez, Imad Wasim, Yasir Shah, Hasan Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Junaid Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Amir, Asif Ali.