England and Pakistan lock horns once again in the second T20 International (T20I) at Old Trafford, Manchester on Sunday(August 30). The first game did not yield any result as rain came pouring down in the 17th over of the match. Before that, Tom Banton had unleashed his wide array of shots that saw him smash 71 off just 42, which included as many as five sixes and four fours. Pakistan did well initially to choke England, letting them score just 34 in the powerplay.
England,however, led by Banton and Dawid Malan upped the ante in the middle overs, scoring 87 runs in the phase.
Pakistan pulled things back by picking up wickets at regular intervals – from 109 for 2, England found themselves at 123 for 6 in a matter of three overs, which drastically decreased their chances of getting to a match-winning total.
England have the highest run-rate in the middle overs (9.1) and in the death (11.1) of a T20I since 2019. In the powerplays too, they are not particularly bad, scoring at 8.7, the best behind Ireland (9.4) Australia (9.2) among the top 10 teams. However, the early dismissal of Jonny Bairstow, combined with some top class bowling from Pakistan in the first T20I did not allow them to get off to the best of starts.
Out of his seven dismissals in T20s since 2019 in powerplays, Bairstow has been dismissed on five occasions by spinners. Although he scores at a healthy 143.68, he is dismissed once every 17.4 deliveries. Even though a spinner could get hit for runs, he has a high chance of picking up Bairstow’s wicket in the powerplay which could be a huge scalp. Hence it might be a good idea to have Imad Wasim bowl at him in the first six overs.
Speaking of Wasim, he has the best economy rate (6.01) among bowlers who have picked up at least 40 wickets in T20Is. In powerplays too since 2019, only 45.6 % of his deliveries have ended as boundaries, which is the best among players of all Test playing nations.
In the first T20I on Friday, neither the Pakistan bowlers nor the England batsmen were given much of an opportunity to show off their prowess in the death overs. Even with the ball England have been good at the death especially with the presence of someone like Chris Jordan. In T20Is since 2019, while Pakistan have picked up a wicket every 11.8 deliveries at 18.3, England have been far more efficient having struck once every nine balls at 14.5.
Pakistan in T20Is have chosen their strongest team possible, with the likes of senior pros like Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Amir among others in their squad. They have also put their faith on young guns with the likes of Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf making it to the XI. Their bench strength too seems to be strong, with a mix of youth and experience and could very well be given a chance in the second game.
Although it would be unfair to drop anyone based on just one match – that too a match that had no result – it will be safe to say that Rauf did not look to be at his best, conceding 32 from his three overs. Another youngster Mohammad Hasnain could be given a go. They also have the option of giving the fast and furious Naseem Shah his debut or go in with the experience of Wahab Riaz instead.
Mohammad Rizwan’s impressive form in the Test series has helped him hang on to the gloves at the expense of Sarfaraz Ahmed in T20Is as well and will most likely be the case once again in Sunday’s match. His catch of Moeen Ali and then the stumping of Lewis Gregory in the first game has further strengthened his credentials of being a fine wicketkeeper.
Pakistan likely XI: Babar Azam (c), Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Amir, Haris Rauf/Mohammad Hasnain, Shaheen Afridi
Known to be a hard-hitting batsman down the order other than being a handy medium pacer, Lewis Gregory’s underwhelming start to his international career could see him getting sidelined for this match. David Willy could be an ideal replacement for him as the southpaw can not only bowl handy overs at the top and in the middle, but is no mug with the bat either, having scored a couple of T20 hundreds and most recently struck a fifty in an ODI against Ireland. He could be the perfect candidate for a place at No. 6 or 7 depending on the situation of the match.
England will have to make do with this depleted squad, furthermore due to Jason Roy’s injury, but still have enough firepower in all departments to win.
England likely XI: Tom Banton, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Dawid Malan, Eoin Morgan (c), Sam Billings, Moeen Ali, Tom Curran, Lewis Gregory, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, Saqib Mahmood
Rain is expected to play a huge role in this match and it could produce yet another game without a result. One can only hope that it stays away during the match, but that is a longshot at best. The team winning the toss will happily bowl first under such overcast conditions. Also, the team chasing have gone on to win four out of the five completed matches at Manchester.
Match: England vs Pakistan, 2nd T20I
Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester
Time: 6:45 PM IST