1st ODI Match Preview: Energetic Pakistan against New England

The Pakistan cricket team is currently touring England for a white-ball series. The series comprises three ODI matches and three T20I matches. The series will start on July 8 before it concludes on 20 July. The 1st ODI match will be played at Cardiff.

This series will be the sixth straight year where Pakistan would be touring England. There is always something special about England tours of Pakistan. Crowds come in huge numbers to support their national side. For many, the England tour has always been an interesting one. 

It did get interesting once again after the whole England squad. The same squad that played against Sri Lanka was sent into isolation following the positive test returns of seven members. A new 18-men squad was announced to face Pakistan. Half of the squad had their maiden call-ups for their national side. Ben Stokes, who initially missed out on the series, returns to lead the side. 

The young ones on the English side will be taking this full opportunity to give the selectors attention. Knowing Pakistan, they do have a history of making new and out-of-form players stars. It is a big challenge that they will be taking into their hands. 

Ben Stokes playing a shot
Ben Stokes returns to England squad and will lead the side for the first time in ODIs

For Pakistan, they could not ask for a better opportunity to win the series in England. They have only won once in 1974, where it was the first bilateral series between the two sides. In their last two English bilateral series in England, Pakistan was defeated 4-1 (2016) and 4-0 (2019). They were outplayed in all departments in the 2019 series. Though not before Pakistan defeated England in the 2017 Champions Trophy and the 2019 World Cup. 

The bilateral series is still important. Pakistan had won their first bilateral series win over against SENA country after a long time when they defeated South Africa early this year. Many expect Babar and his men to do well, given their intermediate performances in ODIs in the last ten years. 

The series has a lot of promise stored in it for us. 

Match Details:

  • Date: July 08, 2021
  • Timing: 05:00 PM PKT
  • Venue: Sophia Gardens, Cardiff. 
  • Weather: The weather in Cardiff is expected to be sunny with partly clouds just hovering.  

Conditions / Pitch Report: 

Cardiff’s pitch showed some tricky signs in the second T20I match between England and Sri Lanka. It made the host worked hard to chase 108 on the DLS method. It could be another slow wicket and if it does, expect spinners to make full use of it. 

Head to Head:

Matches: 88 | England: 53 | Pakistan: 32 | Tied/ No-result: 03

Form Guide:

England: W W L W L (Most recent first)

Pakistan: W L W T W

Team News:

1. England

A new ODI squad was announced after the original squad was sent in isolation. They will be lead by Ben Stokes. This squad is filled with nine uncapped players, and the rest of the squad has represented England before. It is unclear what their XI will be, but one can take a guess. 

England’s Probable XI:

1. James Vince, 2. Ben Duckett, 3. Dawid Malan, 4. Dan Lawrance, 5. Ben Stokes (C), 6. Phil Salt (wk), 7. Lewis Gregory, 8. Craig Overton, 9. Saqib Mahmood, 10. Matt Parkinson, 11. Jake Ball

2. Pakistan

Pakistan could welcome back Haris Sohail to the squad but has been suffering from a leg injury. He missed out on practice games because of that. Sohaib Maqsood also returns to the national side after five years, but he will play the T20I series only. There is a chance that Saud Shakeel could play in the middle-order. 

Pakistan’s Probable XI:

1. Fakhar Zaman, 2. Imam ul-Haq, 3. Babar Azam (c) 4. Mohammad Rizwan (wk), 5. Saud Shakeel, 6. Mohammad Nawaz, 7. Shadab Khan, 8. Faheem Ashraf, 9. Hasan Ali, 10. Shaheen Afridi, 11. Haris Rauf

Pakistan ODI Team standing
Pakistan will want their bowlers to stand up in this series

Also Read About: Indian Media reaction to Pakistan’s Kashmir Premier League

Players to watch:

1. Ben Stokes, All-rounder (England)

Initially was not into the side, Ben Stokes returns to the team and will lead England in ODIs for the first time. He recently played an ODI series against India in late 2020, scoring 135 runs at 45 average. Besides, this will be his first series on home shores since August 2020. He has played about 15 overseas matches in both South Africa and India. He will be looking forward to leading the young team.

2. Babar Azam, Batsman (Pakistan) 

He recently became the first captain to win a series against a top-five ranked side after eight years. There are high expectations for Babar Azam to lead Pakistan with both batting and leadership once again. He has been in terrific form of late, with 449 runs at an 89.80 average. His strike rate has always been criticized. But since the 2019 World Cup, he has a strike rate of 102.98. And let’s not forget his record in England, averaging 50 and striking at the 90s. 

3. Matt Parkinson, Bowler (New Zealand)

Yet to pick an ODI wicket in his two outings so far, Matt Parkinson is still a bowler to be varied off. He made his headlines in the 2019 Vitality Blast, where he was the third-highest wicket-taker with 21 and a strike rate of just 11. A young leg-spinner, he was praised by many of his teammates and the opposition. Matt Parkinson will be looking to grab the opportunity with both of his hands. 

4. Sarfaraz Ahmed, Wicket-keeper (Pakistan)

The former captain may not be around in the XI much, but he holds the best average by a Pakistan batsman in England. In fact, against England in England, he is the highest run-scorer. He scored 541 runs at an average of 67.62. It is not clear who will bat at the middle-order, mostly at no.6. But Sarfaraz can be an excellent option given his success on English shores. 

Stats and Trivia:

  • Pakistan has not beaten England in an ODI bilateral series since 2006. Pakistan last defeated England in England was way back in 1974. 
  • In the ongoing World Cup Super League points table, England leads with 65 points. Pakistan can take over England’s number one spot by winning the series 3-0. 
  • Babar Azam is the only Pakistan batsman to score 1,000 ODI runs in England. 
  • Babar is also just 192 runs away from 4,000 ODI runs. He has 3,808 in 78 innings. Hashim Amla currently holds the record for the fastest to 4,000 ODI runs in 81 innings. 

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