Pakistan will play England in a one-off T20I at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff on Sunday. The fixture will kick off at 6:30pm Pakistan Standard Time.
Pakistan have won all of their three practice matches in the tour so far. They clinched an 100-run win against Kent and went on to beat Northamptonshire by eight wickets in their 50-over games.
The visitors won the third and final tour game, played under T20 rules, against Leicestershire by 58 runs.
Mohammad Hafeez is likely to be ruled out from the T20I due to a finger injury while Shoaib Malik is on a 10-day leave because of “personal reasons”.
Pakistan will head into a five-match ODI series from May 8 at The Oval. The second and third fixtures will be played at May 11 and May 14 in Southampton and Bristol respectively.
The fourth game of the series will take place on May 17 at Nottingham. The series wraps up in Leeds on May 19.
Date: Sunday May 5, 2019
Timing: 06:30 PM PKT
Weather: It’s likely to be a chilly day in Cardiff but there is mercifully no rain forecast.
Conditions / Pitch Report: The pitch at Cardiff is generally pretty good for scoring in white-ball games. The surface is traditionally the slowest and lowest of all England’s major international grounds which could make batting tricky but in return, the batsmen have short, straight boundaries to their advantage.
Head to Head:
Matches: 14 | England: 9 | Pakistan: 4 | NR: 1
England: W W W W L (completed matches, most recent first)
Pakistan: W L L W W
England still aren’t their full-strength squad. They will go in with the same set of players who scrapped to a four-wicket win against Ireland on Friday after being reduced to 101/6 at one stage.
Archer, who by his own admission was nervous to make his debut against Ireland, is likely to get another go, while his fellow pacer Chris Jordan, who didn’t feature in the XI in the last game, could get a look in.
Duckett, a late call-up to the squad, is also waiting for his T20I debut, while James Vince, who made 18 against Ireland, will be hoping for better numbers to bolster his case ahead of the ODIs.
Phil Salt, the uncapped batsman from Sussex, was called up on Saturday to replace Dawid Malan, who was ruled out with a muscle injury to his left groin.
England’s Probable XI:
1. James Vince, 2. Ben Duckett, 3. Joe Root, 4. Eoin Morgan (capt), 5. Joe Denly, 6. Ben Foakes (wk), 7. David Willey, 8. Adil Rashid, 9. Jofra Archer, 10. Chris Jordan / Phil Salt, 11. Tom Curran
Pakistan go into the game with their batsmen in fine form, with all of Imad Wasim, Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam making hundreds in their tour wins. However, they will be without Shoaib Malik, who has been granted leave, and there is an injury cloud over Mohammad Hafeez as well.
All eyes will be on Mohammad Amir, who found himself out of the preliminary World Cup squad. In his only game on tour so far, he picked up one wicket.
Babar Azam, the world’s number one ranked T20I batsman and such an important player for Pakistan in both white-ball formats, has been in particularly good form in those games, scoring an unbeaten half-century against Northants and then a hundred against Leicestershire.
Pakistan’s Probable XI:
1. Fakhar Zaman, 2. Babar Azam, 3. Imam-ul-Haq, 4. Haris Sohail, 5. Sarfraz Ahmed (capt/wk), 6. Asif Ali, 7. Faheem Ashraf 8. Imad Wasim, 9. Yasir Shah, 10. Mohammad Amir, 11. Mohammad Hasnain
Players to watch:
1. Babar Azam – Batsman, Pakistan
Babar Azam can have a good start to the series if he takes off in a batsman friendly pitch in Cardiff on Sunday. Babar is a smart player and plays well to the situation. He has been very consistent with the runs for Pakistan and could be one of the most important players in the series.
2. Asif Ali – Batsman, Pakistan
Pakistan needs Asif Ali to be at the very top of his game. And if he manages that, Pakistan are definitely on their way to a victory. Asif Ali’s form is imperative to Pakistan’s success, and the batsman could very well turn the match on its head. Asif Ali could have a good start of series too.
3. Liam Plunkett – Bowler, England
With four wickets in the first innings, Plunkett had a really good game against Ireland in the last match. Plunkett’s accurate bowling put the Irish batting attack in a world of trouble and was enough to succumb and bundle out for just 198. His bowling will come in handy against this vulnerable Pakistan batting side.
4. Eoin Morgan – Batsman, England
Arguably the most in-form player in this England team, Morgan is capable of a huge knock that could have a big impact in the game and is England’s trump card in the middle-order. Morgan is a natural when it comes to big knocks and could be a lethal player for the England in the series.
Stats and Travia:
- Pakistan won the last T20I between these teams but overall England have a 9-4 record (with one tie).
- Before defeat to South Africa in February, Pakistan had won nine consecutive T20 internationals – at the time the second-longest streak of victories behind Afghanistan’s 11.
According to coach Mickey Arthur, Pakistan’s preparation for this tour has been otherwise “outstanding” and they have won their three warm-up matches against the counties relatively comfortably.
“It went all right. Probably not the pitch I would have hoped for, but a good debut nevertheless.” Jofra Archer is probably hoping for a bit more pace in the Cardiff deck.