No result at the Kia Oval in 1st ODI between England and Pakistan due to rain
The first match of the Royal London ODI series, between England and Pakistan at The Kia Oval, was ruined by the rain, thus denying both teams of some useful workout, leading up to the World Cup, kicking off in just over three weeks.
England are a number one ODI side in the ICC ranking and start as hot favourites to win World Cup on its home soil. Ever since Trevor Baylis and Eoin Morgan, took over the ODI squad as head coach and captain, this English squad has grown and grown and at present stand continues to enjoy huge success in this particular format.
The top order is off to a flyer in the powerplay and 350 has become the benchmark, a mark well beyond their opponents, Pakistan. The five match series allows the selectors to get to their best squad. The depth or the bench strength of the squad was evident for despite the absence of Alex Hales, Jason Roy, Moeen Ali, Tom Curran and Mark Wood, it still looked a formidable England ODI side that took the field at The Kia Oval.
Pakistan, ranked as number six in the world, has been given a chance to experiment, rotate and rest its key players and eventually finalize its 15-man squad. Today’s playing eleven did not feature two experienced all-rounders Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik but the return of Mohammad Amir. With no IPL participation and its own t20 league PSL still in its embryonic stages, Pakistan batting certainly lacks firepower and explosive hitting on the modern lines, both at the start and in the death overs and hence very rarely manage 300 plus total in 50 overs. Unless their bowling unit performs at their optimum best with two white balls being used in ODIs, they have been unable to defend, against top sides and shall continue to struggle.
Today’s fixture at The Oval, delayed by overnight drizzle that carried on till midday and with further forecast of on and off rain. A 2.15 start ate up six overs to leave the contest at 47-over per side. England won the toss and as expected their seam bowlers got first opportunity to exploit any moisture in the pitch.
The inclusion of Barbados-born Jofra Archer, with 90mph plus pace, bounce and movement on show, has made England an even stronger side. With unsettled weather and stop start pattern due to a number of rain breaks, Pakistan batsmen never quite got going. Often reminded of playing at an ‘outdated’ tempo they reached 35-1 after 10 overs and ‘galloped’ to 80-2 after 19. First the game was cut to 41 overs a side and after heavy spell of showers followed by hail storm, a number of overs were lost again. It just could not get any worse for frustrated crowd and over worked ground staff. Finally at 7.10pm, the three umpires Tim Robinson, Paul Reiffel and Rob Bailey, ruled out a chance of even 20-over match, due to a soaking outfield.
England - Jonny Bairstow, James Vince, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan(c), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler(wk), Joe Denly, Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer, Adil Rashid, Liam Plunkett
Pakistan - Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Imam ul-Haq, Sarfaraz Ahmed(c)(wk), Haris Sohail, Asif Ali, Imad Wasim, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Amir
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