England vs. Pakistan T20I Series Preview

After a dismal showing in the ODIs, Pakistan will hope to perform better in the shorter format against England.

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Pakistan’s start to the England tour hasn’t been any less than a nightmare for them. “You cannot defend such [poor and disappointing] performance.” These were Misbah’s first words in the post-ODI series press conference. Still, his team has an opportunity to formulate some good memories of this England tour. The 3-match T20I series starting tonight holds much importance due to the T20 World Cup coming up later this year. Let’s examine the past record of both sides, their squads, and the possible key players and concerns for them.

Recent Form

Although Pakistan lost all of their 4 T20I series in 2019, they made a good comeback afterward. Since 2020, they have won 14 of 21 T20Is and 5 of 7 T20I series they’ve played. However, their performance has been disappointing against the top-ranked teams. The following table shows how the current top five ranked T20I teams have done against each other since 2019.

Team

Won

Lost

W/L ratio

India

11

7

1.57

England

9

7

1.29

Australia

8

7

1.14

New Zealand

9

12

0.75

Pakistan

2

6

0.33

Since 2020, England have won 4 of their 6 T20I series. Their only series loss amongst these was against India, losing 3-2 in away conditions.

Head to Head

Pakistan’s overall T20I record has been poor against England. Among the eight teams against whom Pakistan has played at least 10 T20Is, they have the worst win/loss ratio against England (0.42). However, this record has improved recently. Both teams have won 2 each in the last 5 games. Pakistan drew their last series against England (1-1) after winning in a close contest in Manchester.

Pakistan Squad

Babar Azam (captain), Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Sharjeel Khan, Sohaib Maqsood, Azam Khan (wk), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Mohammad Nawaz, Usman Qadir, Imad Wasim, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Wasim, Arshad Iqbal

Inclusions: Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Sohaib Maqsood, Azam Khan

Exclusions: Asif Ali, Danish Aziz, Haider Ali

Pakistan had to announce their T20I squad before the UAE leg of PSL 6. Sohaib Maqsood was the only late inclusion, replacing Haider Ali. Pakistan’s vice-captain Shadab Khan returns to the squad after an injury, while fellow spin all-rounder Imad Wasim is also included. Azam Khan has been included in the national squad for the first time.

Key Players

Mohammad Rizwan led Multan Sultans to their first-ever PSL trophy recently and also finished as the second-highest run-scorer in the tournament. He is the top run-scorer this year in T20s and T20Is. In his last 11 T20I innings, he has scored 619 runs at a 100+ average and a strike rate of 143. These are the most number of runs any batsman has scored in 11 consecutive T20I innings. His consistency will remain a great threat for England in the series.

Hasan Ali has improved a lot in T20Is since his return this year. He is the top wicket-taker for Pakistan in 2021, with 13 wickets in 6 games. He was also the top wicket-taker for Islamabad United in PSL 6. While he has improved his bowling with the new ball, his economy has gotten better too. He was the most economical local bowler in this PSL season (min 5 overs; reflected in the table below). His presence in the team also strengthens the death-overs batting. Hasan has scored 236 runs this year in white-ball cricket at a strike rate of 189.

Player

Wkts

Avg

Econ

Hasan Ali

13

20.69

6.75

Mohammad Irfan

10

27.10

6.77

Faheem Ashraf

9

21.11

6.78

Concerns

Being the vice-captain of the side, Shadab Khan is likely to be one of the players in the starting XI. His performances in the last couple of years have worsened compared to the initial years of his career. In PSL 6, he had a bowling average of 36.1 and a batting average of 10.4. On his comeback, Pakistani fans would be hoping to see him do better with both bat and ball.

Haris Rauf has played 19 of the 21 T20Is for Pakistan since 2020 (only Mohammad Rizwan has played more). However, his record in this period against good sides has been pretty average. His economy (9.7) and average (34.2) in PSL 6 weren’t good either. The continuity of this form can cause big problems for Pakistan’s pace bowling.

Haris Rauf in T20Is

vs. NZ/ENG/SA

 

vs. ZIM/BAN

11

Inns

8

13

Wkts

12

9.7

Econ

7.3

29.5

Avg

18.8

Middle-order failure: Pakistan’s middle-order has consistently failed in T20Is recently. The #4-7 batsmen have only scored at an average of 11 and strike-rate of 109 in the 10 matches this year. Six different batsmen have batted at the two positions (5 and 6) at least twice for Pakistan this year. Five of them are not a part of the current squad. Sohaib Maqsood and potential debutant Azam Khan are probably the two new players Pakistan will be testing in these positions.

England Squad

Eoin Morgan (captain), Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Jos Buttler (wk), Dawid Malan, Tom Banton (wk), Liam Livingstone, Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid, Matt Parkinson, Lewis Gregory, Tom Curran, Chris Jordan, David Willey, Saqib Mahmood, Jake Ball

Inclusions: Tom Banton, Matt Parkinson, Lewis Gregory, Saqib Mahmood, Jake Ball

Exclusions: Sam Billings, Liam Dawson, Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood

Most of the changes in England’s squad are in their pace attack. Saqib Mahmood and Lewis Gregory have been retained from the ODI series after their brilliant performances. Jake Ball is currently the top wicket-taker among Englishmen in the Vitality Blast 2021. Matt Parkinson, the Lancashire leg-spinner, has also been included after he did well in the ODI series.

Key Players

Despite missing two games, Jos Buttler is the top run-scorer for England in T20Is this year. He has scored 240 runs with an average and strike rate of 60 & 140, respectively. His record as an opener in this format is unparalleled, and he will remain a threat for Pakistani bowlers from the start of the innings.

Eoin Morgan is the top run-scorer for England in T20Is against Pakistan. Though he is going through a rough patch in T20Is recently, he has produced match-winning performances against Pakistan in the past, winning three Player of the Match awards.

Saqib Mahmood might get into England’s T20I XI for this series after finishing as the top wicket-taker in the ODI series. He also has the experience of bowling to Pakistani batsmen in PSL 6 earlier this year. Mahmood was the top wicket-taker in the Karachi leg of the league, with 12 scalps, including Sohaib Maqsood, Azam Khan, and Mohammad Nawaz.

Concerns

England may be concerned by the poor T20I record of some of their players in past matches against Pakistan. The following six players (in the table below) are likely to be part of England’s XI. Pakistan will be hoping that their struggles continue.

T20I Record against Pakistan

Player

Inns

Wkts

Avg

Econ

Chris Jordan

6

4

50.8

9.7

David Willley

4

3

40.0

9.2

Adil Rashid

7

6

34.0

7.6

Player

Inns

Runs

Avg

SR

Jos Buttler

6

68

11.3

104.6

Jason Roy

4

59

14.8

120.4

Moeen Ali

6

83

16.6

129.7

Final Words

With immense pressure on them after losing the ODIs, the Babar Azam-led side will be hoping to take revenge against a full-strength England squad. Meanwhile, England’s men will be motivated to continue their winning momentum in their last few T20Is before the World Cup in October. Which team do you think will clinch the series?

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1 comment
Mohsin
16 Jul, 2021

Usman Qadir should be given a chance in place for Shadab Khan..