While England have been excellent in presenting some form of cricket throughout the summer, rain has not forgotten to make its presence felt every now and then. Once again, rain had the final say in the first T20 International between Pakistan and England with the match getting abandoned after only 16.1 overs into the first innings at Old Trafford in Manchester. The second T20I will be held at the same venue on Sunday and while the weather is expected to be cloudy once again, rain is likely to stay away.
HEAD TO HEAD IN T20Is
Overall: Matches – 16 | ENG – 11 Wins | PAK – 4 Wins | N/R - 1
In England: Matches – 7 | ENG – 4 Wins | PAK – 2 Wins | N/R - 1
Last 5 matches: ENG – 3 Wins | PAK – 1 Win | N/R – 1
While you could go for the above team, you also have the option of choosing your own team from cricket.com’s Fantasy Research Centre. Based on algorithms we come up with six different teams that could fetch crucial points.
While only 16.1 overs of play was possible in the first T20I, the Old Trafford surface did seem good for shot-making once the batter is set as Tom Banton showed in his captivating 42-ball 71. However, the slightly dual-paced nature of the pitch also brought the slower bowlers into play.
Manchester hasn’t hosted a lot of T20Is in the last few years but owing to the Vitality Blast has seen a fair bit of T20 action.
In 16 T20 matches since the start of 2018, batsmen have scored at 25.3 runs per wicket here with the bowlers managing a wicket only every 18.3 balls. The average run rate during the time period has also been a fairly high 8.3.
Packing top-order batsmen and spinners in your side could be the way to go for the second T20I.
The Pakistan spinners picked up five of the six England wickets to fall in the opening T20I, the other being a run out and that could remain the theme of the series. Historically too the Manchester surface has favoured spinners.
In T20s here since 2018, the spinners have picked up wickets at a balls/dismissal ratio of 18 as compared to pacers who have a strike rate of 21.9. The tweakers have a far better economy rate too.
Both sides have quality spinners at their disposal. The likes of Adil Rashid and Imad Wasim could be good choices while Shadab Khan too gave a good account of himself in the opening game.
Among the batsmen, you could go for Tom Banton, Eoin Morgan and Babar Azam in your side.
There could also be a few interesting matchups at our disposal.
The Fakhar Zaman v Tom Curran battle at the top could be an interesting one. The pacer has dismissed Zaman twice in 3 T20 innings at a miserly average of 7.
Tackling spinners could be key on the Manchester surface and Shoaib Malik has a lot of experience in that regard. He has faced Adil Rashid three times in T20Is and is yet to be dismissed by the leg-spinner.
Undoubtedly Pakistan’s best all-format player, Babar Azam is our captaincy choice for the second T20I on Sunday. The No.1 T20I batsman in the world, Babar has been terrific across formats over the last few years. The leading run-scorer for Pakistan in T20Is since 2019, Babar has scored 440 runs in 12 innings averaging 44 which includes five half-centuries. He also has a good record against England in the format as his average of 80 and strike-rate of 150.9 suggests. The surface at Manchester should suit Babar’s style of play and he gets his eye in early, he is one player who can help you with a lot of points. Our Criclytics Player Projection says Babar will score 17-40 runs in Manchester on Sunday.
Dawid Malan in his T20 career has been as good against pace as he has been against spin and that might turn out to be crucial against this Pakistan unit that boast of as many as five spinners. In the current English squad, Malan has the best average against spinners that of 36.57 and plays pace equally well as his average of 34.19 shows. His control% against spin is also better when compared to pace. If England lose a quick wicket at the top, Malan is the man who can handle both seam and spin efficiently. In addition, the left-hander is the only one apart from Morgan, Roy and Denly to have played 200 plus T20 matches. His experience will be invaluable for any situation. The Criclytics Player Projection says Malan will score 15-38 runs in the second T20I in Manchester.
Chris Jordan has played with and against a lot of the Pakistan players in the past and the familiarity might help him in the series. The pacer is England’s leading wicket-taker since 2019 in the format, having picked up 18 wickets in 11 T20I innings at an impressive strike rate of 11.6. Jordan is England’s best death bowler. While he might go for runs, he is bound to take a few wickets and that is what counts in fantasy cricket. He is also a useful bat lower down the order and a gun fielder. Talk about being a complete fantasy cricket package! The Criclytics Player Projection has Jordan picking 0-3 wickets in Manchester on Sunday.
His numbers might not be too fancy but the fact remains that Imad Wasim almost every match quietly does the job for his captain. Since 2019 in T20Is, Imad has scored 127 runs in 13 T20Is with a strike rate of 138. He has also picked up 9 wickets at a balls/dismissal ratio of 28. Imad mostly bowls his full quota of overs and is likely to bat in the final stages of the innings. On his day, the southpaw can help you rake in a lot of crucial points. Our Criclytics Player Projection says Imad will score 8-25 runs and pick 0-3 wickets in the second T20I against England.