England vs Pakistan, 2nd ODI Preview: Wounded visitors search for inspiration
In what is turning out be quite an unique situation, Pakistan cricket appears to be divided into disparate halves – solid in Tests and woeful in the other two formats. Having been completely outplayed by England during the 1st ODI, they face another stern challenge in order to bounce back in the 5-match series.
A return to the familiar surroundings at Lord’s will offer some hope for the visitors. It was at this venue where their English summer kicked off with push-ups and euphoria under Misbah ul Haq’s guidance.
However, Azhar Ali’s team are up against a much more confident outfit which has captivated the attention of cricket lovers in the United Kingdom. On batting friendly pitches, a turbo-charged top-order is rapidly becoming uncontrollable for any opposition.
A target that would have been an impediment to past England sides seemed like a walk in the park for Eoin Morgan’s dynamic lineup at Southampton. Possessing an equivalent depth of the iconic Thames River, the supply of never ending batsmen could once again push Pakistanis to the brink.
Venue – Lord's, London
Date – 27th August, 2016 (Saturday)
Time – 1030 local/0930 GMT (1500 IST)
Broadcast – Star Sports 2, HD2 (Indian Subcontinent)
Online Stream – http://www.starsports.com/cricket/index.html
Pakistan – LWLLL
Even though the rest of the batting unit select itself, Alex Hales’ position could come under a bit of scrutiny after a loss in form. However, the team management is expected to back him considering his prowess in the limited-overs arena.
In the bowling department, David Willey might be in contention after recovering sufficiently from a hand injury. But with the likes of Liam Plunkett and Mark Wood performing adequately, changes do not seem likely.
Coach Mickey Arthur had quipped, “I said to the players this morning that nobody's safe. And if you're over 30 you've got to be coming to the table more often than not, otherwise it's an opportunity to blood some younger players. I'm telling no secrets, nobody is 100% safe in the ODI side and the guys know that. Everybody knows they're on notice.”
But, the South African may find it tough to ring in the changes especially during the initial stages of the series. Having said that, Mohammad Hafeez is under-fire for continuously disappointing in this tour and could make way for a younger batsman. With Mohammad Amir showing signs of fatigue in the first ODI, he might be given a breather as well.
Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (c), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (wk), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, Liam Plunkett, Mark Wood
Azhar Ali (c), Sharjeel Khan, Mohammad Hafeez/Sami Aslam, Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Shoaib Malik, Imad Wasim, Wahab Riaz, Umar Gul, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Amir/Hasan Ali
The Lord’s surface is usually a batting paradise, particularly in limited-overs contests. Though the pitch sported a tinge of green a day prior to the match, it remains to be seen how much of it will remain when the game begins. Another hot summer day is in the offing which should bring spinners into the equation as well.