England vs Pakistan 2nd ODI Preview: Pakistan expected to bounce back as Lord's full house awaits
Pakistan may have suffered embarrassment with a comprehensive defeat to England's second string side in the series opener, but the team is too strong to not retaliate.
A freak loss
With England having to replace their entire ODI squad after seven positive COVID-19 results emerged in their camp just before the series, a loss for Pakistan in the series opener was hardly expected. Even if there was a slim possibility that they would lose by 9 wickets with more than 28 overs to spare in the second innings was anticipated by no one.
This has brought England's great depth in focus as despite missing out on various players due to injury and losing on the entire ODI squad, the team looks quite strong.
Saqib Mahmood underlined that, taking a wicket on the very first ball of the game. He set the tone and Pakistan were never really able to recover from that. It is a testament to England's strength that at no point in the match did Pakistan even have a sniff despite fielding their strongest XI.
Rub of the green not going the way of Men in Green
There were a few mitigating factors in Pakistan's loss. One, they lost the toss and had to bat in conditions which were a lot more conducive for swing and seam bowling.
As player of the match, Saqib Mahmood described after the match, it was more of a Test pitch and the lengths from the England bowlers were similar. Unlike the red ball, which has a tendency of moving a lot, the white ball does just enough to make matters worse for the batsmen.
This is why, there were not a lot of plays and misses, but several nicks and almost all of them were converted by the England fielders.
The balls that dismissed Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan, the best Pakistan batsmen on display, would have brought about an end to the innings of most batsmen in the world. If at all, the Pakistan batsmen could have played the ball a little late, but then, given their past experiences with England, they would have been looking to stamp their authority and score big due to England's explosive approach in white ball cricket.
Sohaib Maqsood's run-out, Fakhar Zaman's wicket and a couple more such soft dismissals highlighted that it was England's day, and they made the most of it.
Full house at Lord's
This will be a huge opportunity for the inexperienced England squad to witness a spectacle. Lord's will be at 100% capacity for the ODI and it will be some atmosphere if the team is able to repeat its success in the series opener.
In consultation with Public Health England and local safety advisory group, the permission has been granted to operate at 100% seating capacity. All ticket holders aged 11 or more will have to provide evidence of COVID-19 status to enter into the stadium. There will be no social distancing requirements and the rule of 6 will not apply. People will be required to wear masks only when they are on the move.
Expect Pakistan to retaliate
Pakistan may have suffered an embarrassment in the series opener, but make no mistake, the Babar Azam led team is very strong and they have enough evidence of that, given their consistent results in the recent ODIs.
The only problem for them is that due to the balance of the side, they are probably a batter short, but even then, the available batsmen and bowlers have more than enough potential to stun the brand-new England squad.
The Pakistan fans will hope that they get to see nothing short of the team's best at the Home of Cricket.
Here's a look at the probable playing XIs:
England - Philip Salt, Dawid Malan, Zak Crawley, James Vince, Ben Stokes (c), John Simpson (wk), Lewis Gregory, Craig Overton, Brydon Carse, Saqib Mahmood, Matthew Parkinson
Pakistan - Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Saud Shakeel, Sohaib Maqsood, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf
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