By Peter Moore
- England target series win ahead of forthcoming World Cup
- How will Pakistan handle early season conditions?
- Chance for fringe players to impress
LORDS, ENGLAND – England are looking to build on success over Ireland and T20 win against Pakistan as they gear up for the ICC World Cup.
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After completing a nervy four wicket victory against Ireland in Dublin on Friday in a one off ODI and a seven wicket win in the shorter version of the game against Pakistan in Cardiff on Sunday, the World Cup host nation continue their preparations ahead of this summers tournament with a five match ODI series against Pakistan.
Both sides will be using this series to build up to the World Cup, ahead of the opening match of the tournament at the end of the month.
England go into the series in good heart, with two victories in the course of 72 hours. Friday’s one-off ODI against Ireland proved to be a stiff challenge for England, but thanks to an unbroken partnership of 89 between Ben Foakes and Tom Curran, the Surrey pair saw them over the line after one stage reeling at 66 for 5, chasing 199 for victory.
On Sunday England hosted Pakistan in the shorter version of the game with a one off T20 International. Chasing 174 to win, England reached their target with four balls to spare, thanks to an unbeaten 57 from Captain Eoin Morgan and 47 from the bat of Joe Root.
Could this be the series to put Archer in the spotlight?
After making a satisfactory start to his International career by taking a wicket and a superb catch against Ireland, all eyes will be on Jofra Archer to see how he performs in this big series against the visiting Pakistanis.
If Archer can have a successful series in the forthcoming five matches, then the selectors will surely start pencilling his name into the starting line up for England’s opening World Cup match against South Africa in the World Cup.
Time for fringe players to put down a marker
With England resting a few players for the Ireland game, it was time for some fringe players to come to the party and give the selectors a headache ahead of finalising the final World Cup Squad. One of those players is Foakes. The Surrey wicket keeper- batsman certainly took his opportunity with both hands after compiling an unbeaten 61 on his ODI debut, alongside some exceptional glove work. Alongside the likes of Liam Plunkett and Curran- no guaranteed shoo-ins for the World Cup – the pair made match winning contributions to give the selectors a gentle nudge.
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Will the tourists be able to handle early season conditions?
It was just a year ago when Pakistan last set foot on these shores, sharing a two match test series. As regard white ball cricket, it was back in 2017 when Pakistan faced England in the semi final of the ICC Champions Trophy, completing a comprehensive seven wicket victory.
Since 1974 England and Pakistan have played each other 82 times in ODI’s with England winning 49 of them Pakistan 31 and two no results.
Both Mohammad Amir and Asif Ali were omitted from their provisional World Cup Squad but have been included in their side for the five-match series.
With pitches early season predominantly favouring seam, it is no surprise that the Pakistani’s have named a strong bowling attack. Aside from Amir, the tourists can also call on the services of the experienced Junaid Khan– over 100 wickets in ODI’s already.
As regard batsman the tourists have an exceptional talent in Babar Azam. The 24-year-old Right Hand batsman is averaging over 51 in ODI’s and 54 in T20 cricket. He immediately made his mark in International cricket with three consecutive ODI centuries against the West Indies in 2016. 23-year-old Imam-Ul Haq is another batsman for England to be wary of. An opener who has a famous Uncle, the legend that is Inzamam-Ul-Haq, Imam is currently averaging over 54 in ODI’s in just 24 innings.
On paper this should be a fascinating one-day series with the Number one side in the World England up against a very good all-round side from Pakistan. However, England should just have the edge over the visitors, mainly due to the hosts boasting a better all-round side that should just have enough to defeat Pakistan.
England vs Pakistan ODI Series
Wednesday 8th May 1st ODI Oval
Saturday 11th May 2nd ODI Ageas Bowl Southampton
Tuesday 14th May 3rd ODI Bristol
Friday 17th May 4th ODI Trent Bridge Nottingham
Sunday 19th May 5th ODI Headingley Leeds
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