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Pakistan vs England 3rd T20I Preview: England bowlers look to counter Babar-Rizwan threat amid short turnaround

Babar Azam  and Mohammad Rizwan
Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan

England need to inject more venom into their bowling attack to challenge the Pakistan openers. 

Top Tournament Stats - England tour of Pakistan 2022

Top Batter (Runs Scored)

Top Bowler (Wickets taken)

Most Sixes

Shutting the critics 

There was criticism from all quarters after Pakistan lost the opening T20 by 6 wickets. There were questions about the intent of the openers and the ability of the middle order. The bowling too came under the scanner. 

However, this is the nature of international cricket. The moment a victory comes your way, all the criticism is put to rest and vice versa. 

One change each 

Both teams made one change to their playing XI for the second T20. Pakistan rested Naseem Shah and brought in Mohammed Hasnain in his place who did not have a great game and ended up giving away 51 runs from his four overs which included a no ball. 

England made a decent change, bringing in Liam Dawson in place of Richard Gleeson. Dawson did the job and ended up being the most economical bowler for England, giving away only 26 runs from his four overs and was the pick of the bowlers for the visitors along with Sam Curran. 

Shahnawaz Dahani showed once again why he should have been in Pakistan squad for the T20 World Cup ahead of Mohammad Hasnain as he took two wickets from his 4 overs while bowling at an economy rate of 9.20. 

He was on a hat-trick at one point after disturbing the woodwork of both Alex Hales and Dawid Malan on back to back deliveries. 

Ali shines 

It was England's middle order which took them to an above par total. Ben Duckett and Harry Brook not only stabilized the innings after a few quick dismissals but amped up the pace as well. 

Moeen Ali went a step further as he struck the second fastest T20 half century against Pakistan, remaining unbeaten on 55 off 23 balls as he went at a strike rate of 239. Ali hit 4 boundaries and 4 sixes, two of which came on the last two deliveries of the England innings off Mohammed Hasnain. 

Haris Rauf was particularly impressive for Pakistan as he mixed up his variations very well, bowling the quick and straight delivery when needed and then bringing in his slower deliveries to keep the batters honest. 

Rizwan and Babar's encore 

Not many would have anticipated that Pakistan would end up winning by 10 wickets in pursuit of the 200 run target but that is exactly what happened. It reminded many of the team's victory against India in the 2021 T20 World Cup when the two openers were completely on the money. 

Both Rizwan and Babar Azam left behind all the criticism and batted at a strike rate of around 170. In the process, Babar became the first Pakistan batter to hit two centuries in T20 International cricket as he remained unbeaten on 110 off 66 balls. Mohammad Rizwan was even more aggressive, making a 51-ball 88. 

However, both the batters would have wanted to finish the match one over earlier as it is never ideal to go into the last over, where anything can happen. 

The England bowlers were very expensive and would themselves agree that they did not deserve to win on the night. When you give a player like Mohammad Rizwan as many as three opportunities, you are not giving yourself any chance of winning at all. 

While Pakistan are expected to be unchanged, England need to find a replacement for the out of colour David Willey. 

Predicted Playing XIs 

Pakistan - Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Haider Ali, Shan Masood, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Nawaz, Usman Qadir, Haris Rauf, Shahnawaz Dahani, Mohammad Hasnain/Naseem Shah 

England - Alex Hales, Philip Salt (wk), Dawid Malan, Ben Duckett, Harry Brook, Moeen Ali (c), Sam Curran, Liam Dawson, David Willey/Olly Stone/Richard Gleeson, Luke Wood, Adil Rashid 

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