“Mighty India with all the T20 cricket they play have been taken down and in some style" Naseer Hussain couldn’t be more subtle in describing the magnitude of ENG’s win over India in the semis. Additionally, this served as an emphasis on the brand of cricket Eng displayed that evening in Adelaide.
Eng's road to semis wasn't smooth. With a shaky start to the tournament, England struggled to chase 112 against AFG, lost to Ireland and won against SL in a nail-biting match.
They just had one of their most disappointing years in white ball cricket. They started the yearwith a loss to WI and then lost at home vs IND and SA. IND have been their achilles heel since they have lost 7 out of 8 bilateral series since 2017. Their batting hadn't lived up to expectationss it should have except for the game against NZ
Call it luck, destiny or whatever but when PAK where 48-4 against SA at Sydney, they had a 3% chance to qualify for the semis. They clung onto that 3% hope, stormed in to the semi finals thanks to SA losing to Netherlands and an all round show from Shadab Khan against the Proteas. Mohammad Haris has been a surprise element in all the 3 games played so far. They have the momentum, their big boys Babar and Rizwan are back among runs, they have the pace attack, an allrounder in Shadab but against an opponent whom they have historically struggled against. Even in the recently held 7 match series, ENG managed to defeat them in their own backyard without big names. Same was the case last year when PAK lost to ENG C.
Pakistan have the best eco rate in the tournament and no team has managed to score un excess of 160. On the other hand, Eng have the fastest scoring rate in PP and their openers have scored bulk of the runs. Eng's middle order hasn't faced lot of deliveries in this tournamnet and could be well exposed again on the Big day if PAK manage to strike early. On the other hand, Eng will also look to apply same tactics they used against India. They brought in Adil Rashid early. He has good nos against Babar and Rizwan. It would make sense if PAK promote Shadab or Nawaz and take down their spinners unlike IND who managed only 41 runs from 7 overs.
Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Mohammad Haris, Shan Masood, Shadab Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Wasim, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Shah Afridi
Jos Buttler (c, wk), Alex Hales, Phil Salt, Ben Stokes, Harry Brook, Liam Livingstone, Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, David Willey/Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid.
Melbourne Cricket Ground
Total matches 21
Matches won batting first 9
Matches won bowling first 11
Average 1st Inns scores 143
Average 2nd Inns scores 127
Highest total recorded 186/5 by IND vs ZIM
Lowest total recorded 74/10 by IND vs AUS
Highest score chased 172/5 by SL vs AUS
Lowest score defended 127/1 by AUS vs PAK
HEAD to HEAD
Both teams have faced each other 27 times in t20is
Overall: ENG leads by 18-9
Batting 1st: ENG leads by 9-5
Batting 2nd: ENG leads by 9-4
In T20 WCs: ENG leads by 2-0
Last 5 matches: ENG leads by 3-2
Most runs: Babar Azam (560)
Most wkts: Graeme Swann (17)
(Last five matches)
PAK: W W W W L
ENG: W W W NR L
Hales v Afridi: 24(11), 1 out
Salt v Rauf: 18(15), 2 out
Livingstone v Rauf: 50(17)
Hales v Naseem: 33(19)
Brook v Wasim: 50(20), 1 out
Salt v Nawaz: 73(43), 1 out
Moeen v Shadab: 64(36)
Livingstone v Shadab: 90(64), 3 out
Babar v Curran: 48(39)
Rizwan v Curran: 28(26), 1 out
Babar v Jordan: 46(33), 1 out
Rizwan v Jordan: 70(41), 1 out
Babar v Rashid: 77(63), 3 out
(Last 5 ininngs)
Key Players & Fantasy Picks
Alex Hales & Jos Buttler
He resumed his intl career with a bang in Pakistan and also made a quickfire 50 against Aus in bilateral but hadn’t made any mark in tournament so far. He has come into his own league by scoring back to back 50s and gives ENG a solid start. He even went one step further in the semis and won match of the match against India. Should prefer him along with Buttler who needs no introduction in white ball cricket. They are your preferred opener’s choice in fantasy 11
He is Pakistan’s best fielder and vice-captain of the side. He is often promoted in the batting order and has won Pakistan 3-4 games with the bat in the last couple of months. He scored 50 in just 20 deliveries against SA in last match. Add to that his 4- over economical spells in every game. ( 10 wkts in 6 games at an eco of 6.5). He is a complete package in t20s who’ll fetch you plenty of points in fantasy 11
Iftikhar and Shan Masood have each played a couple of good innings so far. One more batter we can bank on is Mohammad Haris wo has been the surprise element this year.
Mark Wood ( Subject to availability)
Almost every time he has played since returning from injury, whether it was in the Pakistan series, Australia series, or World Cup, he has breathed fire. Since September, he has picked 18 wkts in 7 games and is clocking 150+ every now and then.
He wasn’t at his best against India as he was coming off an injury but as the tournament progressed he found his rhythm and ended up with best figures in semis against NZ.
He has picked 22 wkts in last 13games. Bowls at the death and is more than capable to use the long handle in the end overs. He is a wkt taking machine in death overs with good economy. A near to perfect candidate in any fantasy 11
Both Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam had a tournament to forget so far. This hasn’t come as a total surprise since their issues with scoring rate has been widely acknowledged. But it was about time a big name like Babar stepped up in a crucial knockout game and both Rizwan and Babar delivered on the front ( Both were our wild card pick against NZ )
One more candidate whom we can take a punt is on Ben Stokes. He has a huge reputation in crunch games. Could fetch us huge points in both departments.