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|Jofra Chioke Archer||4.0||2||6||1||1.50|
After a heart-breaking loss in the only T20I of the series, Pakistan and England will move to the Oval. Pakistan couldn't have asked for a better venue to kickstart their ODI campaign as they have some happy memories of playing at the Oval. The last time they played here, they smashed India by a massive margin of 180 runs back in 2017 Champions Trophy final to get the title. The two teams will lock horns on 8th May at 5:30 pm IST in a bid to get their noses ahead in what is expected to be a closely fought series. With World Cup around the corner, both the sides will be looking to get their combination right without really compromising on the momentum and we expect a cracker of a contest between the two sides.
England are arguably the number one side in the limited-overs cricket in the world at the moment and they answered all the questions in the only T20I a couple of nights ago. The major feature of their wins over Ireland and Pakistan was the absence of their first string players which had little consequence over the result.
The likes of Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, and Jason Roy will return to the top-order for England. With their return, their batting suddenly looks a lot more potent and a lot deeper. With Liam Plunkett likely to come into bat at number ten, they bat deep and cannot be written off from the match at any stage.
English bowling has always been under the scrutiny, more so in the last couple of years. We are likely to see Jofra Archer being given a chance and he surely will be a breath of fresh air for the English side. With Chris Woakes, Moeen Ali, and Jofra Archer their bowling looks solid on paper and they'll be the side to beat not only in the upcoming fixture but also in the World Cup.
Jonny Bairstow, J Vince, JE Root, Eoin Morgan, BA Stokes, Jos Buttler, Joe Denly, CR Woakes, LE Plunkett, AU Rashid, Jofra Chioke Archer.
Pakistan are even though coming off a poor run of form, they cannot be taken lightly considering the unpredictability they've shown over the years. They're coming off a defeat against Australia in their most recent ODI series which was followed by a close defeat in the only T20I against England.
This series is likely to act as a much-needed boost primarily because of two reasons. One - Pakistan will get additional time to get acquainted with the English conditions and two - they'll get a better idea of the playing eleven they'd want to field in the marquee event.
Pakistan have shown many vulnerabilities with the bat in recent times despite having a rather experienced side. They'd like their batsmen to get the field of the conditions which could prove to be of significant importance in World Cup.
Pakistan, in recent times, have lacked depth and ability to hit big in the slog overs which has also been a reason for many losses in the build-up to this series. So often have they failed to score in excess of 300 whereas other major teams have actually scored tall totals for fun. They depend heavily on the likes of Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, and Imam ul Haq and none of those are known to be fierce hitter of the cricket ball.
Their inconsistent batting, however, is taken care of by their potent bowling, albeit only to some extent. Shadab Khan was a vital cog in their bowling lineup and his absence is definitely going to make things easier for England. Having said that, the likes of Mohammad Amir, Shaheen Shah Afridi, and Faheem Ashraf have been brilliant in the recent times and are more than capable to destruct any batting lineup in the world.
Imam-ul-Haq, F Zaman, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Asif Ali, Sarfraz Ahmed, SI Wasim, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir, Shaheen Afridi.
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While the upcoming fixture is of little consequence with a much bigger event set to begin within 20 days, a win here will certainly boost the confidence of both the sides. The two sides are playing against each other after a big gap and both of them will like to start off on a winning note. While Pakistan looked good in the only T20I, the lack of power hitting ability at the death was clearly apparent. With a perfectly balanced squad and the advantage of playing at home, England are definitely firm favorites to emerge on top in the upcoming encounter.
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