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|Jofra Chioke Archer||4.0||0||29||2||7.25|
Indian Premier League is down to its final few matches and the countdown to World Cup 2019 has already begun. England and Pakistan are set to face each other in one of the few series which are to be played before the marquee ICC event. Just a day ago, England played an ODI against Ireland wherein they registered a win after a hard tussle. Pakistan, on the other hand, haven't played any cricket for a while and this T20I match, the only of the series, which is to be played on Sunday, 5th May will be their first after facing a massive series defeat at the hands of Australia. With teams already finalized for the World Cup for both the sides, this series will be more about getting the combination right and taking the confidence and momentum into the series and that is why both sides will come out all guns blazing in the upcoming fixture.
Although England registered a win over Ireland in the one-off ODI yesterday, it was far from convincing. One could argue that the English lineup was miles away from being their regular ODI lineup and a win is a win nonetheless, but the disparity which should be between a side that could not qualify for the playoffs and the one that is favorites to lift the trophy should be apparent - something which wasn't a case on Friday.
England will be looking to put up a more complete performance in the only T20I of the tour, which going by their recent performance and the team on paper is not going to be easy. England have decided to rest a few of their key limited-overs players who will be available from the ODI leg of the series rendering this England side a mere shadow of themselves.
One of the most important players for them, Jos Buttler, and Ben Stokes have been rested after featuring in more than half of Indian Premier League. Joe Root, however, will be in the squad along with Eoin Morgan in the middle-order. We are likely to see England field the same lineup as they did against Ireland yesterday which although isn't as good as their regular side but can be dangerous especially in the home conditions.
J Vince, Ben Duckett, JE Root, Eoin Morgan, Joe Denly, Ben Foakes, David Willey, Tom Curran, Chris Jordan, AU Rashid, Jofra Chioke Archer.
Coming back to play professional cricket after a good rest of more than a month, Pakistan do not really have the problem of resting players and can play their full-strength squad right from the word go. Having said that, Shadab Khan, their lead spinner is nursing an injury and is doubtful start even in the World Cup let alone this tour. His absence is definitely a big setback for the men in green.
Pakistan have been outstanding in the build-up to the series so far. They registered three consecutive wins in the warm-up matches which would have boosted their confidence along with getting them acquainted to the alien and difficult conditions of England.
Looking at their side on paper, Pakistan seem to have all bases covered. Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, and Imam ul Haq have been amongst the runs and have looked pretty convincing in almost all of the matches. Alongside the power and exuberance at the top, they have solid experience in the middle order with Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, and the skipper himself available to bat in the late middle-order.
Pakistan have always been known for their lethal quick bowling and they are well packed in this series as well, albeit not as well-known bowling unit as it was known to be. With Junaid Khan and Mohammad Amir, they have the experience and with Faheem Ashraf, they have the youthful exuberance. All in all, Pakistan certainly look to be a stronger unit that they were in their last series, against the Aussies.
F Zaman, Babar Azam, Imam-ul-Haq, Haris Sohail, Sarfraz Ahmed, Asif Ali, SI Wasim, Faheem Ashraf, Shaheen Afridi, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Hasnain.
Check out the complete Dream11 lineup for England - Pakistan first T20I below:
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England enjoy a terrific head to head record over Pakistan in T20 Internationals. Additionally, they have a flawless record at Cardiff. Having said that, the difference between the two sides of previous encounters and this encounter is massive which cannot be neglected. England are without their premier stars which could be a big factor in the upcoming match. On paper, Pakistan are certainly a better side and considering their good performance in the warmups, they are better-placed to emerge on top in the only T20I of the tour.
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