England v Pakistan, 2nd Vitality T20
Pakistan Tour of England
Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester
Sunday 30th August,
Live from 1:30pm on Sky Sports Cricket HD & and 1:45pm on BBC 1 HD
The rain has done its best to ruin this amazing summer of cricket but hopefully we get a dry day for the second T20 against Pakistan. My thoughts on the game are below….
First T20 Reflections
Sadly, the rain spoiled another eagerly awaited contest but there was a big positive in the shape of Tom Banton, who showed what a great shot maker he can be and how exciting he can be with the bat – hopefully we see that again in the next two games, especially for those of you who backed him to be the top series run-scorer with us ante post.
The wicket looked an absolute belter – two teams that were evenly matched both got on top at times in the first innings. Pakistan looked on the ropes at one point but they’d started very well and they were on top when rain intervened – Mohammad Rizwan’s superb keeping knocked a lot off our potential total and it would have been a very competitive run chase.
The influence of the PSL was clear for all to see – Pakistan handled the pressure points of the innings well, including some fine bowling in the power play and also after Banton had holed out – and England will be tested all the way, assuming we can get any of the games completed.
If the weather holds, then the second game has become even more crucial – to win the series either side will have to take it and there’s now even more pressure for players to put their hands up when it comes to next year’s World Cup.
One thing that was notable about the first game was how well Pakistan bowled early. England were 34-1 at the end of the power play – there lowest powerplay score since the World T20 final of 2016 – and things would have been even more difficult for the hosts had Iftikhar Ahmed held onto a simple chance when Banton had scored just five runs.
England could end up needing their middle order to give support again and that makes Sam Billings an interesting shout to be the top run-scorer for England in this game. Billings scored 67 and 46 in the first two ODI’s against Ireland and didn’t have a chance to make his mark in the first game – however, he’s already shown he’s in decent touch and Pakistan have been able to make a dent in the England top order, so 13/2 could be value.
Apart from the hammering they got from Tom Banton, Pakistan’s spun the ball excellently – their three spinners took 5-71 in nine overs – and Imad Wasim is a value call to be the top wicket taker. Imad took 2-31 in the opening game from four overs and 11/2 looks big about him doing the same.
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