Fantasy Cricket: England vs Pakistan Test I Preview

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CRICKET-ENGvPAK Test I

England had little problem in defeating West Indies 2-1, even if they had lost the first Test. However, Pakistan are expected to present a bigger challenge in the three-match series starting with the first Test in Manchester from Wednesday.

With 12 points after the Windies series, England have jumped over Pakistan and New Zealand in the World Test Championship points table. With top-ranked India only four points ahead, a win in this match will put England in good stead. Pakistan will also look to get back among the thick of things with a win here.

England Preview

The hosts will hope that Rory Burns (234 runs, Avg. 46.80) will continue his good form from the Windies series. Ben Stokes (363 runs @ 90.75, 9 wickets) will once again be key with his all-round abilities. All eyes will be on Stuart Broad (16 wickets), the new entrant to the 500-wicket club.

England chose the same squad from the Windies series and present a value for your fantasy money. Chris Woakes has 81 wickets @ 22.53 and 741 runs @ 32.21 in England and should he be in the playing XI, deserves a chance in your fantasy team. The dry conditions in Manchester warrant a look at James Anderson as well.

Pakistan Preview

Pakistan have been in England for some time now and have played two intra-squad warm-up matches. It will be interesting to see if Sohail Khan makes the cut – he has five-wicket hauls at Birmingham and the Oval in 2016. He will be in competition with Mohammad Abbas, who has picked up ten wickets in two Tests here in 2018.

Misbah-ul-Haq hinted at playing two spinners, which means all-rounder Shadab Khan will be likely to play. His all-round abilities make him a good fantasy asset, while Babar Azam presents perfect value with his batting.

Fantasy Players to Watch

Ben Stokes may not bowl, but is good enough with the bat alone to make your fantasy side.

Stuart Broad was in red-hot form against Windies picking up the ‘man of the series’ award with ease. His ability to bring passion to the bowling crease makes him a great pick. 

Babar Azam needs 150 runs to reach the 2,000 runs milestone in Test cricket. His recent record is exquisite – 1,234 Test runs @ 64.9 in the last two years.

Predicted XIs

England: 1 Rory Burns 2 Dom Sibley 3 Joe Root (C) 4 Zak Crawley 5 Ben Stokes 6 Ollie Pope 7 Jos Buttler (WK) 8 Dom Bess 9 Jofra Archer 10 Stuart Broad 11 James Anderson

Pakistan: 1 Abid Ali 2 Imam-ul-Haq 3 Azhar Ali (C) 4 Babar Azam 5 Asad Shafiq 6 Mohammad Rizwan (WK) 7 Shadab Khan 8 Yasir Shah 9 Sohail Khan 10 Naseem Shah 11 Shaheen Afridi

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