England vs Pakistan
The 2019 ICC World Cup is almost here and all eyes are on this ODI series, as two of the front runners prepare to meet again in the 4th ODI: England vs Pakistan.
It’s been a fascinating, and entertaining, tussle between two of the higher statesmen of world cricket. After the first game was washed out, both sides have shown clear signs of intent with high scoring encounters in the second and third, both won by England.
And the runs are highly unlikely to slow down at one the best batting tracks in England when the 4th ODI starts at Trent Bridge in Nottingham on Friday. With the hosts two up with two to play Pakistan has to go for it, and that will make for an explosive clash against arguably the best team in the world.
England’s bowling auditions
Fast bowler Jofra Archer has got the pulses racing in cricket pavilions the length and breadth of England and he has seemingly nailed a place in England’s World Cup squad, impressing in his short spell in the first ODI, before it was rained off. He’s making the England vs Pakistan news without even playing, as the other potential members of the hosts’ pace bowling attack are left to battle it out for the other three places.
The 24 year old only had four overs in the opening game, but he bowled with such pace and penetration, reaching 93 mph and conceding just six runs, that he’s made a huge case for his inclusion.
So who else can make the cut? Chris Woakes was the pick of the bowlers in the third ODI in Bristol, taking four wickets, while David Willey who can be one of the best death bowlers in the game, took a hammering, though he did take a stunning caught and bowled to claim his one wicket.
Liam Plunkett bowls a heavy ball and is reliable, while Tom Curran provides a youthful challenge for a starting place. Test star Sam’s brother was drafted in for his first game in Bristol and claimed the wicket of Pakistan’s best batsman, Imam-ul-Haq, with a brilliant Yorker, but he too was expensive.
And then there is Mark Wood, the only bowler England has who is quicker than Archer.
England are the favourites to win the ICC World Cup and if they get this decision right then, aligned to the most destructive batting line-up in world cricket, the bowling attack can bowl the Three Lions to success.
The batting line-up picks itself. After hitting a spectacular 50 ball century in the second ODI Jos Buttler took a well earned rest, and left the stage free for Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy to plunder the Pakistan attack in the third. With skipper Eoin Morgan, Joe Root and Moeen Ali all capable of taking a game away from any attack, England certainly has the firepower to triumph in the World Cup.
The world showcase is due to start in two weeks time and we’ll be there with all the latest news, reports and the best odds with us.
Pakistan’s batsmen up their game
While England’s bowlers try to impress their selectors, the Pakistan batting has enjoyed a long awaited evolution, finally showing the dynamism and urgency to win in the 50 over game. 300 isn’t a big enough total to win these days and Pakistan has responded.
In the third ODI the visitors posted a total which required England to record the fifth highest successful run chase in history, as Imam hit a delightful 151 in 97 balls, and was ably backed up by Asif Ali in a stand of 125.
And in the second ODI, in the absence of Archer, Fakhar Zaman hit a superb century to run England close. This has encouraged Pakistan fans, who can’t wait for the World Cup and the chance to meet their old foes India once again. It’s arguably the biggest game in world cricket, always a sell out and a game neither wants to lose.
So with two wins from the last two games the Three Lions come into the shoot out at Trent Bridge with the five match series in their grasp, and the balance of head-to-heads is in the hosts’ favour.
England has won 51 of the 84 meetings in the one day format with Pakistan triumphing in 30 and their have been three no results.
England have been strong in all formats of the game for some time but it is in the 50 over format that the hosts have made the biggest strides over the past three years.
The England vs Pakistan betting odds are weighing heavily in their favour and I just can’t see Morgan’s team letting up as they vie for places in the World Cup starting eleven.
Pakistan at 3.04 might be tempting but I’m going to resist!
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
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