On pitches that were heaven for batsmen, both England and Pakistan batters enjoyed their time out in the middle. As the series moves to Leeds for the fifth and final ODI, both sides look to conclude their World Cup preparations.
England have a chance to whitewash their opponents and extend an unbeaten home run stretching back to 2015. Eoin Morgan’s team has been rewriting the record books, and will again start as favourites. Pakistan were nearly there in the fourth ODI, but once again their poor fielding let them down. The visitors will look to change the script and get into form for the World Cup.
Victory on Friday was not straightforward, as England faced a middle-order wobble of 4 for 15. However, all-rounder Ben Stokes came to form and led them over the line. Jason Roy’s batting has been exceptional, while Jonny Bairstow has found his rhythm.
All eyes will be on the bowling line-up, which has lifted itself ever since Jofra Archer joined the squad. Mark Wood’s return to fitness is another boost, while Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid continue to lead the spinner’s roles.
Becoming the first side to score three consecutive 340+ scores is no solace for Pakistan, who have lost all three matches. The performance of their top-three batsmen is a big positive coming out of the series.
Concerns remain over their bowling, although they showed signs of improvement on Friday. It is their fielding that remains the Achilles heel for Pakistan. They have continuously dropped chances and at key stages of every game this series.
Fantasy Players to Watch
Fakhar Zaman has been in excellent form for Pakistan over the last 12 months. He will also be looking to make up for the absence of his regular partner Imam-ul-Haq.
Babar Azam is one of the best accumulators in ODI cricket and has shown the same on Friday. The stylish player can be among the runs once again for Pakistan.
Ben Stokes has found his batting form in the last two ODIs. With the World Cup approaching, he would love to pick some wickets too.
England might look to play their best side, recalling most of their starters.
England: 1 Jason Roy 2 Jonny Bairstow 3 Joe Root 4 Eoin Morgan (C) 5 Jos Buttler (WK) 6 Ben Stokes 7 Moeen Ali 8 Tom Curran 9 Jofra Archer 10 Adil Rashid 11 Mark Wood
The visitors might look to rest the injured Imam.
Pakistan: 1 Abid Ali 2 Fakhar Zaman 3 Babar Azam 4 Mohammad Hafeez 5 Sarfaraz Ahmed (C & WK) 6 Asif Ali 7 Imad Wasim 8 Shoaib Malik 9 Hasan Ali 10 Shaheen Afridi 11 Mohammad Hasnain
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