After a Test series ruined by inclement weather, England will face Pakistan in a three-game T20I series, beginning on Friday. We take a look at a preview for the T20 series along with some betting tips for the opening match.
England will not have the services of their usual T20 squad, with Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes absent. Jason Roy has also been ruled out of the series with a side strain. Instead, they will rely on the squad that beat Ireland in a three-match ODI series last month.
Pakistan have been a lot better in the shortest format of the game, primarily due to the penetration of their bowling which is their strength. They will have Wahab Riaz and Imad Wasim available, two specialists in this format.
Batting has always been a problem for Pakistan, especially in run-friendly conditions. Fakhar Zaman will provide some much required impetus to Pakistan’s batting but they will continue to rely on their best all-format batsman in Babar Azam, who had a solid Test series, which culminated with an opportunistic half-century in placid conditions.
Southampton has been known for its batting-friendly conditions. That was evident in all three Tests of the summer. However the outfield has been battered by incessant rain for the last few weeks. A slower outfield will force batsmen from both sides to take the aerial route to ensure maximum return.
England’s line-up is laden with stroke-makers, including Jonny Bairstow, Tom Banton, Eoin Morgan and Sam Billings. England didn’t bother with batting sensibly in the ODI series against Ireland, instead opting for the back-your-instincts strategy that helped them win the World Cup last year.
Pakistan have some solid six-hitters of their own, including the experienced and reliable Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez. Both sides will want to return to the groove of solid white-ball striking in the first T20I match since the lockdown.
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