England continued their irresistible form with a six-wicket win in Bristol to take a 2-0 lead in the five-match series against Pakistan. With the series on the line, it is the visitors who have everything to play for. In addition to finding out their World Cup rhythm, Pakistan need a win to stop England from taking a series-winning lead.
Eoin Morgan is suspended for this match for over-rate offence, but England might not feel his absence. Considering the need to test their bench strength, Jos Buttler could be slotted right back in, as stand-in captain. Pakistan will have a lot to ponder on their bowling combinations.
Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow put on their seventh century partnership (in just 27 innings) in Bristol. They now are scoring at more than 7 runs an over at the top. With Buttler set to rejoin the side and Ben Stokes also gaining his form, England can only get better.
Jofra Archer’s audition for the World Cup spot could continue, although many feel he has earned a spot already. Mark Wood might get a chance to impress, while back-up spinner remains an unsolved area.
Pakistan will be heartened by the fight shown by their openers so far. That remains their only solace, though, so far in the series. Asif Ali has also shown exceptional hitting abilities down the order and their batting looks fairly settled.
It is with the ball and in the field that Pakistan look ragged. Shaheen Afridi didn’t look threatening, so far, while the others have been pedestrian. Youngster Mohammad Hasnain could be drafted back in, to shore up the resources.
Fantasy Players to Watch
Jos Buttler should get back into the side as stand-in captain. Also, his name features five times in the top-10 fastest ODI centuries by English batsmen. Back him for his power hitting.
Imam-ul-Haq has been consistently scoring runs for Pakistan, although he’s always under the microscope. The young opener could once again do the star turn for the visitors.
Jonny Bairstow is enjoying his stints at the top of the order and his hard-hitting is a treat. His consistency makes him an ideal pick for your fantasy side.
Buttler – Morgan will be a direct swap, while there is a possibility of including Wood and Archer.
England: 1 Jason Roy 2 Jonny Bairstow 3 Joe Root 4 Joe Denly 5 Jos Buttler (C & WK) 6 Ben Stokes 7 Chris Woakes 8 Moeen Ali 9 Jofra Archer 10 Adil Rashid 11 Mark Wood
The visitors might include Mohammad Hasnain.
Pakistan: 1 Imam-ul-Haq 2 Fakhar Zaman 3 Babar Azam 4 Haris Sohail 5 Sarfaraz Ahmed (C & WK) 6 Asif Ali 7 Imad Wasim 8 Mohammad Hasnain 9 Hasan Ali 10 Shaheen Afridi 11 Junaid Khan
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