Preview: After a couple of one-sided and a couple of nerve-wracking duels between Pakistan and England, the series, which will be played after 17 long years, is limited to one final game at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium.
The seven-match streak is tied at 3-3. Teams generally do not play a seven-game bilateral series. But teams don’t visit any other country after 17 years either (unless it’s Pakistan). Nonetheless, both teams will be poised to seal the streak in a bid to gain momentum ahead of the T20 World Championship Down Under.
All multinational/bilateral tournaments are counted as a training session towards the World Cup. However, the series has its own importance and this series now has all the hype to talk about given how it’s evolved.
England may appear strong on paper, but teams have performed equally well on the pitch. And Pakistan did have an advantage in crucial situations. They’ve produced some excellent seamstresses from time to time and that was profound in this series as well. But they’ll want to forget the last match, when the England batsmen all hammered, chasing a 170-run target in 14.3 overs.
It will be interesting to see if Jos Buttler plays the crucial game as Moeen Ali spilled the beans in the last game which we would only find out at the start of the game. Mark Wood or Chris Woakes or both could play the last match to get more playing time.
For Pakistan, Mohammad Rizwan and Haris Rauf, their best players in both divisions of this series are quite a guarantee for the playing XI. Babar Azam will also be a big boost for the hosts if he gets under runs.
It’s not the end for either side, however, as Pakistan will face Bangladesh and hosts New Zealand in a tri-series, while England will play three games against World Cup hosts Australia.
Pakistan: Squad: Babar Azam(c), Mohammad Haris(w), Shan Masood, Khushdil Shah, Iftikhar Ahmed, Asif Ali, Mohammad Nawaz, Shadab Khan, Aamer Jamal, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Shahnawaz Dahani, Mohammad Rizwan, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hasnain, Usman Qadir, Abrar Ahmed
England Squad: Philip Salt(w), Alex Hales, Dawid Malan, Ben Duckett, Harry Brook, Moeen Ali(c), Sam Curran, David Willey, Adil Rashid, Reece Topley, Richard Gleeson, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood, Will Jacks, Liam Dawson, Olly Stone, Tom Helm, Luke Wood, Jordan Cox
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