World No. 1 Test side Pakistan are quite poor in the shorter formats, which has been proven time and again, in the last 8-9 months or so. Coming off an impressive Test series against England, the Pakistani cricket team returned to being mediocre when it was time for ODIs, taking a 1-4 pounding. One last match is remaining on the tour, the one-off T20I which too promises to expose Pakistan’s shortcomings. But, as they say, it’s a new day and a new game, both Pakistan andEngland will strive for a win at Old Trafford on Wednesday night,. Pakistan have all the firepower they need in their team but have not been able to put their A game forward. After four defeats on the trot, Pakistan fought back in the final game and registered a morale-boosting win, which can certainly be expected to inspire the touring side. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Pakistan vs England, One-off T20 Match
Pakistan’s track record against England:
Pakistan have had tough luck against England in T20Is, losing 10 of the 13 T20Is they have played in last 10 years. As mentioned before, it is a battle against the odds for Pakistan. But this does not mean that Pakistan do not have players who can perform well in T20Is, they lack experience, exposure and need temperament to cope up with the pressure of the game.
Pakistan T20I record in 2016:
Pakistan have had a rough 2016 as far as T20 cricket is concerned. They have won only four of the 11 T20Is played this year which includes a win against UAE. A disappointing year for the visitors saw them falling short of the final of the T20 Asia Cup 2016 followed by an early knockout from the ICC T20 World Cup 2016. Pakistan would be hoping for a turnaround against England in only T20I of the series.
Sarfraz Ahmed’s captaincy:
Sarfraz has been rewarded with captaincy for his consistent performances on this tour. He played the main role in Pakistan’s only win in the ODI series by scoring 90 off 73 balls. But he will be expected to react wisely to the dynamic situations in the T20I. The toss could be extremely crucial, knowing that Old Trafford might get a bit rain due to overcast conditions. In case he wins the toss, bowling first could be a better option.
In case it rains, Duckworth-Lewis-Stern (DLS) method will come into play which tends to benefit the team batting second. The selection of the batting order keeping in mind the conditions will be tricky. Even if it does not rain, humid conditions at Old Trafford will cause dew which could make it harder for bowlers to grip the ball. S
X-factor for Pakistan:
Imad Wasim can be clearly stated as the all-rounder who will be under the scanner for his performance in T20I. Wasim had a terrific Caribbean Premier League (CPL) 2016 with his team Jamaica Tallawahs winning the title. Wasim had an important role to play in the side delivering with both bat and bowl. He has a knack of picking up wickets in tense situations and blocking the flow of runs. At least his T20 economy rate says so, which is just over 6 runs per over.
Wasim scored two unbeaten half-centuries in the ODIs, which Pakistan lost 1-4. He rescued Pakistan from batting collapses and stitched partnerships with lower order batsmen to keep the scoreboard moving and that too at an impressive strike rate. The expectations will be high on him, even a little cameo or a tight over can make the difference between win and loss against England. He will be required to contain England’s big-hitters, as the depth of hosts batting line-up might pose a few problems for Wasim.
Players to watch out for:
Sohail Tanvir’s presence in the squad will boost their confidence. Tanvir had a fruitful CPL campaign for his side Guyana Amazon Warriors who were the runner-ups of the tournament. He saved his side at multiple times with his bowling spell or a useful cameo down the order. He was even promoted up the order at instances due to his hard-hitting abilities. He will add more depth to Pakistan’s batting line-up similar to what Chris Woakes provides for England.
Shoaib Malik regained his form in the final ODI as he shared a game-changing 163-run partnership with Sarfraz to rescue Pakistan from 77 for 3 to 240 for 4. Malik scored a sensible 77 in the previous ODI. Malik possesses the temperament Pakistan lacks while chasing, his form in the game will be vital for the visitors. Along with him Sarfraz too is clearly a star player for Pakistan. The wicketkeeper-batsman will strengthen the middle order for his side in T20I.
Threats to Pakistan side:
Alex Hales piled on 171, the highest individual score for an England batsman in ODIs; he laid the foundation for a record-breaking 444 for 3 in the third ODI. He has an impressive record in T20s as well; he is clearly a major threat for Pakistan up the order.
Jason Roy can be as lethal as Virender Sehwag used to be for India, his counter-attacks are a joy to watch. Roy can lambast any bowling attack on his day. He laid the foundation for the highest-ever T20 chase in ICC T20 World Cup events in 2016. Containing him in the powerplay will be daunting task for Pakistan’s seam attack.
Jos Buttler cannot be ruled out of any T20 game he plays. He can take the victory out of the sight of the opposition in a jiffy. Pakistan bowlers need to devise strategy to stop him. Buttler contributed vigorously to England’s record-breaking total with his top-notch clean hitting. Getting Buttler out early will be on top of the list of Pakistan.
Sarfraz Ahmed (c&wk), Khalid Latif, Sharjeel Khan, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Rizwan, Babar Azam, Mohammad Nawaz, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali, Sohail Tanvir, Amad Butt