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England vs Pakistan 3rd T20I Preview: Pakistan to bring in Wahab Riaz in hope of drawing level

England's Dawid Malan and Lewis Gregory shake hands with Pakistan players after the match
England's Dawid Malan and Lewis Gregory shake hands with Pakistan players after the match - 2nd T20I
©Reuters
 

It will be interesting to see whether or not Mohammad Amir has recovered fully or Wahab Riyaz is picked in place of Shaheen Afridi.

 

Venue - Old Trafford, Manchester

 

Start time - 5:00 PM GMT/6:00 PM LOCAL

 

Head to Head record in T20Is -  England: 12 Pakistan: 4 No result: 1

 

Weather - Partly cloudy, 10-19 °C, Precipitation: 10%, Humidity: 61%, Wind: 8 km/h


England reiterated the reason for their dominance in white-ball cricket over the last 4-5 years in their last match. It is the ability of their batsmen to chase down any target, however improbable it may be, which has taken them to the pinnacle in white-ball cricket and knocks from Eoin Morgan, Dawid Malan and Jonny Bairstow emphasized the same in the second T20.

More pleasing was that rain did not interfere in the game - a rare sight since the resumption of international cricket after the Covid-19 break. While the pitch at Old Trafford was perfect for power-hitting, there were a lot of unforced errors that both bowling units committed.

 

Rusty bowlers struggle to execute variations

The English bowlers first conceded 195 runs to Pakistan. They struggled to get their variations right. The yorkers were ending up as full-tosses and the slower bouncers were going over the batsman's head.

They also bowled too short and almost played into the strengths of Mohammad Hafeez who capitalised with a 36-ball 69 at a strike rate of over 190 after Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman gave Pakistan a brilliant start, adding 72 from 8.3 overs.

Pakistan bowlers also struggled with Shaheen Afridi failing to find both his line and length. It was unfortunate that Mohammad Amir limped off the field and could not be available to bowl. Haris Rauf picked up two wickets but both of those came when the match was already decided. It is time then to bring back the old horse, Wahab Riaz.

Shadab Khan did star with three wickets from his four overs while conceding 34 runs but the other two spinners Imad Wasim and Iftikhar Ahmed turned out to be very expensive as both gave away runs at 10 RPO or more.

 

Positives to take for Pakistan

Despite the loss, there were some positives to be taken for Pakistan from the last game. Babar Azam is expected to perform every time he takes the field and he did a fine job with a 44-ball 56, dismissed just when he was looking to accelerate, but it was Fakhar Zaman's knock of 36 from 22 balls at a strike rate of 160 which was the bigger positive.

Fakhar has not been able to fire for a long time now and he is one of those players who has the capability to change the game on his own. Pakistan would expect him to dish out a big knock in this match. Mohammad Hafeez's blitz was also cause for elation for the Pakistan fans.

 

Wahab Riaz and Haider Ali likely to feature

There are changes that are expected in the Pakistan ranks for this game. Iftikhar Ahmed, though has got just one opportunity, is expected to be replaced by Haider Ali, who should get an opportunity to showcase his talent on the tour, albeit in one match. Khushdil Shah can be tried in place of Imad Wasim but that is unlikely to happen.

Wahab Riaz is almost certain to come in. It will be interesting to see whether or not Mohammad Amir has recovered fully or will Riyaz be picked in place of Shaheen Afridi. Pakistan can also reshuffle the batting order by bringing Shadab Khan up the batting order as the only weak point in their batting was the middle phase where the team lacked acceleration.

 

David Willey to get a look-in

England are certain to make one or two changes to their playing XI despite the victory in the last match, in line with Eoin Morgan's style of captaincy.

David Willey is expected to come in for Tom Curran who has struggled since the Covid-19 break. He was not at his best in the ODIs against Ireland and conceded 46 runs in the last match. Willey will expect to get the new ball and give the home side one or two breakthroughs in the powerplay.

Moeen Ali has not looked his own in the last few matches, but perhaps, he will get a longer rope, and deservedly so.

Here's a look at the probable playing XI of both teams:

Pakistan - Babar Azam(c), Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Rizwan(wk), Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Hasnain/Mohammad Amir, Haris Rauf, Wahab Riaz

England - Tom Banton, Jonny Bairstow(wk), Dawid Malan, Eoin Morgan(c), Sam Billings, Moeen Ali, David Willey, Lewis Gregory, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, Saqib Mahmood

 

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