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Pakistan vs England 4th T20I Preview: Pakistan need their big guns back to draw level as England amp up intensity

Babar Azam
Babar Azam and Pakistan need to their form back quickly
©CWM
 

The inclusion of Mark Wood and Reece Topley has completely changed the complexion of the England unit. 

Live Scores - Pakistan vs England, 4th T20I

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Wood and Topley make the difference 

One is pretty certain that had Luke Wood and David Willey played in the third T20 International instead of Mark Wood and Reece Topley, Pakistan would have fancied their chances of executing the record change of 222. 

They might have still lost but perhaps not by a margin of 63 runs, their heaviest defeat against England in the format. Will Jacks was another England player who got a game, coming in for Alex Hales, and showed his chops with a 22 ball 40 which gave England the much required momentum. 

Brook, Duckett show their worth 

Dawid Malan has been a bit out of colour in the first few matches but despite him costing England some of their momentum, Ben Duckett and Harry Brook more than made up for it. The two young English batters struck their maiden T20I half centuries respectively and remained unbeaten to take England to a massive score of 221. 

Duckett was particularly punishing against the spinners and took 42 balls for his 70, laced with 8 boundaries and one six, going at a strike rate of 166.67. Brook was batting on a completely different level altogether as he smashed 81 not out off just 35 balls with 8 boundaries and 5 sixes while striking at 231.43, the highlight being his hook off Haris Rauf, though he was struck on the grill a little later. 

Swinging fortunes 

It was a tough night for Shahnawaz Dahani who was brought back down to earth after his impressive performance in the last game. The passionate pacer ended up conceding 62 runs from his four overs while going wicketless to record the second most expensive figures for Pakistan in T20 Internationals. 

The 3rd T20I was a perfect example of how fortune can swing in the shortest format of international cricket. Pakistan looked completely commanding in their record chase of 200+ less than 24 hours ago but the tables turned in the 3rd T20 International as both Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam were nipped out early. 

Speedster Mark Wood drew first blood on return to international cricket, bowling a rocket bouncer which took Babar Azam's edge and travelled easily to Reece Topley at third man. The pacer later hit 156.2 kph or 97 mph on the speed gun, dispelling any doubts of him being a bit ginger after two elbow surgeries. 

Mohammed Rizwan was foxed by a brilliant delivery from left-armer Topley. By the time the powerplay ended, Pakistan had lost Haider Ali and Iftikhar Ahmed as well and the fate of the match was all but sealed. 

SOS for big guns 

Shan Masood, who was unimpressive in the first T20, showed his hitting prowess and was easily Pakistan's best batter on display on the night. He remained unbeaten on 66 off 40 deliveries with 3 boundaries and 4 sixes, going at a strike rate of 165 and had two good partnerships with Khushdil Shah and Mohammad Nawaz but all the did was to keep the margin of victory under under 100 runs as a target of 222 was never really within Pakistan's reach. 

It is perhaps time for Naseem Shah, Asif Ali and Shadab Khan to return to the fold as things have turned quite competitive with England leading 2-1 going into the 4th T20I. 

Predicted Playing XIs 

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

England - Will Jacks, Philip Salt (wk), Dawid Malan, Ben Duckett, Harry Brook, Moeen Ali (c), Sam Curran, Liam Dawson, Mark Wood, Reece Topley, Adil Rashid 

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