ENG v PAK, 4th ODI Preview: Pakistan desperate for a win as England cruise
by Ankit Editor
Published - Aug 31, 2016 2:17 pm | Updated - Aug 31, 2016 2:17 pm
They were hammered out hard a couple of nights ago. It was not just another day on the field but one that would leave a scar. The England vs Pakistan 3rd ODI was all but over after Alex Hales & Co. lumberjacked the Pakistani bowling attack to post a humungous 444 runs. Considering the pressure that the total would bring even before the batsmen took field one wrote Pakistan off. And they weren’t wrong. No. 11 Mohammad Amir was the joint highest scorer in the inning with opener Sharjeel Khan with absolutely nothing notable in between. The game that must have given England a mountain of confidence has also caused the equal and opposite effect on the Pakistanis.
The most daunting task ahead of the Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur would be to regroup the boys. Azhar Ali isn’t the most experienced skippers of them all and Shoaib Malik the one who has featured in most games among those in this team was treated with disdain by the man who ran away with the game Alex Hales. After the massacre of sorts, all they had was some 48 hours to forget what’s gone. Get over the hurt and take guard for the next challenge.
It won’t be an overstatement if I call the England limited overs team, the team in the best shape, composition and frame among the top teams in the ongoing season. They have turned things around. They have unearthed or rather brought into the scene the players with the ability to redirect the game in real quick time. They have the ammunition, the explosives, the plan and the executors all in all this England team has been in an explosive form of late and look good enough just to intensify its magnitude.
Coming into the 4th ODI England literally, have very few things at stake but are still in the best position to win it. The series has been won, which means they can afford to rest a few and test a few. But at the same time, this being a limited overs specialist unit, Eoin Morgan would want to keep the momentum going and aim at 5-0. All they would want from the game apart from a victory is for those who didn’t have a hand to lend in the previous three matches take a step forward and deploy their muscle in the team’s cause.
Ok. Now let’s get over the hangover of the Test series and look at the concerns here. Things are going nowhere for the Pakistan team in this series. And having lost the 3 ODIs on the trot they haven’t just lost a stake at the series but have also failed thus far to challenge England, to put them under pressure, to force them to change their strategies, their plan and the attack. The young skipper needs backing. This isn’t a team of veterans and the conditions in England are making things tougher. It’s important that Arthur’s experience comes to their aid. He has seen most things in international cricket and knows exactly how teams are built.
The Pakistani bowlers need to step up more than the batsmen because they are supposed to be the rowers. They have to pull the weight off and sail them through. The batting might fire if the pressure they are subject to doesn’t weight them down and for that to happen, Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz and Yasir Shah have to show them the way. Batters right from Sami Aslam who impressed in the Test series to pro all-rounder Shoaib Malik have to understand the game, the situation and tackle not just the bowlers but also the plans they are set up for. With the series lost, it’s a matter of pride. They have to ensure the scoreline doesn’t read 4-0 after Leeds. The tour that gave a lot of hope with the Test team’s performance, with them leveling the series, rising to the no. 1 spot has to end on a high and for it to not be 5-0 it has to start with 3-1.
Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Joe Root, Jos Buttler, Eoin Morgan, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid, Chris Woakes, Liam Plunkett, Mark Wood
Sami Aslam, Sharjeel Khan, Azhar Ali (C), Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Nawaz/ Umar Gul, Wahab Riaz/ Mohammad Irfan, Hasan Ali, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Amir
1. England skipper Eoin Morgan needs just one run to complete 5000 ODI runs.
2. The highest total by England at the ground is 321/7 vs Sri Lanka but wasn’t a successful one as in their reply, the Asian team chased it down with 8 wickets intact.
3. Joe Root scored a century (113) against India which is the highest score by an English player at the ground from the current team. No other Pakistani apart from Imran Khan (in 1983) has managed to score an ODI ton at the venue.
4. The last time England played Pakistan at Leeds was in September 2010. They won the game by 4 wickets.