There is already an eerie similarity between the ongoing T20 World Cup in Australia and the 1992 ODI World Cup in the same country. It is Pakistan and England, who are facing each other in the final. There is a real chance that Babar Azam and co could double their trophy cabinet in this format, having won the T20 World Cup last in 2009.
Don’t rule England out either. In 2010, England put on a show, spearheaded by their openers to lift the trophy against rivals, Australia. So, the stage is made of equals. Both have their weakness but on their good day, the strengths are definitely overpowering any sort of weakness that they possess. But the weather god in Melbourne could ultimately play a huge role in deciding the winner.
It could even be shared, if the forecasts are to be believed.
We are back to the rain bowl – the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), which in all reality, could be home to around 90,000 people on Sunday (November 13). England have a wood over Pakistan in the last five H2H games. Both the teams have a terrible record at the MCG, with six losses in between them and ZERO wins.
Out of the three games at the venue in this year’s T20 World Cup, two teams have won batting first. Most of the teams have opted to bowl first here. The last team to chase here at MCG are India, who brought down the finalists, Pakistan in their Super 12 opener last month.
Interestingly, both Pakistan and England have played just one game here at the ‘G. England bowlers average (15.7) significantly better than Pakistan (26.7) albeit their opposition was Ireland. Pacers have picked up 29 wickets at the venue, accounting to 4.8 wickets/innings, in comparison to the spinners, who pick up 2.2 wickets/innings on an average here.
It isn’t a very friendly venue for openers during the Super 12, with the top-order (1-3) just averaging 25.2 at the venue, with a strike-rate of 117.2. In comparison, the middle-order are safer bet, given how they strike at 130.2, which is at a higher pace than the top-order.
However, just keep in mind that it is the openers who have been on fire for both these teams.
Suggested TeamWhile you could go for the above team, you can also choose your team from Cricket.com’s Fantasy Research Centre. You can use this tool to build your team with the help of algorithms. Then, based on your preferences, the platform will guide you through creating the ideal fantasy XI.
Stats that Matter
- Harry Brook’s record against Pakistan has been phenomenal this year, with 238 runs, at an average of 79.33. In fact, it was in the seven-match series against the same opponent earlier in the year, where Brook made a name for himself, going into this year’s T20 World Cup. His last four scores in the tournament have been 4, 7, 18 and 7, so Pakistan will be the team against whom he would want to return to form.
- Shaheen Afridi had a terrible start to the World Cup but ever since, has been one of the top bowlers in the competition. The left-arm seamer averages 14.2 in the tournament, with ten wickets, the join-most for any Pakistani bowler in the global event. Across his last three appearances, Afridi has picked up 10 wickets.
- If Pakistan had Shaheen, England have been blessed with the prowess of Sam Curran. Curran has picked up as many wickets as Shaheen in the competition but has bowled the tough overs, with an average of 13.6. Considering the conditions at the MCG, Curran’s variations could very well come to the fore.
- Don’t forget Shadab Khan. The leg-spinning all-rounder has been the pick of players for Pakistan in the ongoing T20 World Cup, with ten wickets with the ball. Not just that, the right-hander also has scored 78 runs with the bat, with a deadly strike-rate of 177.3.
Grand League Punts
- Alex Hales has been England’s best batter in the global T20 competition, with 211 runs, at a threatening strike-rate of 148.6. Not just that, Hales also will know the Pakistani bowlers more than anyone in this England setup, with 895 runs in his 26 PSL appearances, where he had a similar strike-rate. Going against a familiar opposition could be beneficial for Hales and England.
- Naseem Shah has been an unsung hero for Pakistan in the ongoing tournament. Whilst the right-arm pacer has not been amongst the wickets, his impact on every outcome for the Men in Green has been immense. The last time Pakistan played at the ‘G, it was Naseem, who had an instant impact, against India, with a spell of 1/23, with an economy rate of 5.8. So, count the pacer out at your own peril.
Here are the top 10 Criclytics Projections
Pakistan: Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Haris, Shan Masood, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Afridi
England: Jos Buttler (c & wk), Alex Hales, Philip Salt/Dawid Malan, Ben Stokes, Harry Brook, Liam Livingstone, Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, Chris Jordan/Mark Wood, Adil Rashid