1st T20I Match Preview: Full-strength England Returns to Take on Pakistan

After the embarrassing defeat in the one day series against second-string England, Pakistan will run to their favourite format to change their fortunes. A format where Pakistan has been very good since its inception, and they are still the only team to win 100 T20I matches. They have been the winners of the format’s tournament, but that was twelve years ago. These things will keep Pakistan going, and they will also be keeping in mind how this series matters a lot. Will Pakistan be able to do differently in the 1st T20I Match? Let’s find out in the preview.

They have won three of their last five T20I series and drawn only one. That one series turns out to be with England, where they drew 1-1. They could have won their first T20I series over England had it not for the rain in the first T20I. 

Oh, did I forget to mention that Pakistan has never won a T20I series against England? The closest was, again, the 2020 T20I series and the 2010 series. Pakistan has, however, won the one-off matches against England, Pakistan’s first-ever T20I match and in 2016. This will be one of the targets Pakistan will be looking to achieve. For that, they have to make sure the whole team stands up in the series. 

Full strength England are back

What about England? Old faces are back after the new boys simply decimated Pakistan in the one-dayers. But now, those newbies will have to go back as the seniors mark their return. Either this is good news, or bad news for Pakistan depends on the fan’s perspective. But full-strength England is expected to dominate Pakistan just like the young ones did in the ODI series. 

One thing that is clear for Eoin Morgan is that this will be the last series where he will test the side before calling off the experiments. England, as scheduled so far, has two more T20I series scheduled afterwards. After that, it’s the mega event where they will fight for the trophy for the second time. 

With the T20 World Cup around the corner, both teams will fix few things in their line-ups. 

1st T20I Match Details:

  • Date: July 16, 2021
  • Timing: 10:30 PM PKT
  • Venue: Trent Bridge, Nottingham 
  • Weather: The temperature in Nottingham is warm, with humidity expected 50 and over. 

Conditions / Pitch Report: 

It will be a run feast for the batsmen as the pitch in Nottingham is pretty flat. 

Head to Head:

Matches: 18 | England: 11 | Pakistan: 5 | Tied/ No-result: 1/1

Form Guide:

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

Pakistan: W L W W W 

Team News:

1. England

England will welcome back a full-strength side after being sent into isolation before starting the ODI series. From the new ODI squad that played against Pakistan, only Saqib Mahmood and Lewis Gregory found their spots in the T20I series. Those two may find themselves in the playing XI. But as for the rest, Roy and Buttler will be back for the opening with the middle order slotted with Malan, Morgan, and Bairstow. 

England’s Probable XI:

1. Jason Roy, 2. Jos Buttler (WK), 3. Dawid Malan, 4. Eoin Morgan (C), 5. Johnny Bairstow, 6. Liam Livingstone, 7. Lewis Gregory, 8. David Willey, 9. Saqib Mahmood, 10. Chris Jordan, 11. Adil Rashid

2. Pakistan

Pakistan will be looking to take every game as a practice game as they find the perfect combination for the T20 World Cup. The opening slots is pretty set, with skipper Babar and Rizwan occupying the spots. Mohammad Hafeez and Imad Wasim will return along with Sohaib Maqsood, who will be playing his first T20I game in five years should he play. The number three and six spots and what bowlers they will go with his questioning. But we can guess the possibility. Hasan Ali was rested for this T20I match, so either Arshad Iqbal or Mohammad Wasim could play.

Pakistan’s Probable XI:

1. Mohammad Rizwan (wk), 2. Babar Azam (c), 3. Fakhar Zaman 4. Mohammad Hafeez, 5. Sohaib Maqsood, 6. Azam Khan, 7. Shadab Khan/ Mohammad Nawaz, 8. Hasan Ali/ Mohammad Wasim, 9. Mohammad Hasnain, 10. Shaheen Afridi, 11. Haris Rauf

Players to watch in 1st T20I Match:

1. Dawid Malan, Batsman (England)

This is going to be the battle between the T20I’s number one batsman versus the number two. Dawid Malan, who has been the highlights in the shortest format, is the current number, one rank holder. He broke his counterpart Babar Azam’s record for the fastest 1,000 T20I runs in just 24 innings. He has been a stand out performer for England to their number one ranked position. Malan will be looking to enjoy his success against this Pakistan team.

2. Babar Azam, Batsman (Pakistan) 

And then there is the world’s number two in T20Is. Babar Azam is a terrific player when it comes to this format. In his Africa tour, he scored 305 runs at an average of 43. He even scored his first T20I century, a magnificent 122 against South Africa. But his strike rate became an issue lately. It was 126 total. Out of seven matches, his strike rate was between 100 and 113. This led to criticism for his strike rate again. For this, Babar will have to silence his critics with solid performances against England.  

3. David Willey, Bowler (England)

David Willey missed out on his place for the 2019 World Cup squad, but he will be hoping not to miss out on the T20 World Cup. He hasn’t been as great as Chris Woakes is when it comes to opening the bowling, but Willey is pretty good in his own ways. Averages just 21 in the format with the economy below 8, Willey will be looking to improve those numbers and lead his side to yet another series victory over Pakistan. 

4. Shaheen Afridi, Bowler (Pakistan)

Shaheen Afridi had a poor series against England in the ODIs, but he will be looking to change that quickly. The T20 World Cup is just three months away, and Pakistan would want their ace attack to find his form. Shaheen averages 27 and concedes about 8 in an over. He has to improve and show that he has more to offer for his team. 

Stats and Trivia:

  • After almost ten years, Trent Bridge will host its first T20I match. The last game the ground hosted was between England and West Indies in 2012. 
  • Fakhar Zaman is just 52 runs away to become the seventh Pakistan batsman to score 1,000 runs in T20Is. 


“We’re treating it as if it’s our last chance to look at guys in various positions.”

England captain Eoin Morgan

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