ENG v PAK, 5th ODI Preview: England one step away from a clean sweep

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England’s Adil Rashid (C) celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket. (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

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Pakistan will head into the 5th ODI with a hope to register their first win of the series. England will be looking forward to maintain their clean record by winning the last game and seal a whitewash. While the Test series ended as an entertaining draw the ODIs were only about England’s supremacy.

The change in jerseys made a severe impact as Pakistan never looked like the team which gave England a run for their money in the Test series. This tour would have had contrasting effect on the minds of Pakistani fans – joy for the first half and appalling afterwards.

The Test series was a highly inspiring one but at the same time the ODI series was hugely demoralizing. Pakistan is now limping badly. They have slipped to ninth in the ranking and the only way they can apply some balm on their wounds is by registering a comprehensive win when they take on the host at the Sophia Gardens in Cardiff.

England:

English really look like a team which has evolved into a very mighty ODI unit. Jason Roy is yet to click but that doesn’t mean that it’s would be a problem for England.

This, in fact, should excite the home team as the swashbuckling opener can come back in his rhythm at any time and who knows the last match will be his game. Hales remains a great threat. Joe Root is currently the highest run getter of the series and would hope to hit a triple figures mark after hitting 3 fifties so far.

The only thing they need to worry about will be that the top three makes sure that they don’t fail like they did in the last game while chasing. The hosts have been made to chase thrice in the series and the top order has failed on two occasions.

Their strength of the team is the all-rounders. Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes have been vital contributors. Last but not the least, the bowling unit also should try and make sure that Pakistan team is restricted for a ordinary so that the batsman don’t have to worry much about.

Probable XI : Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Eoin Morgan(c), Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow(w), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Ben Stokes, Adil Rashid, Liam Plunkett, David Willey

Pakistan:

Times look bad for the Pakistan tea at the moment and the only way out is to start putting up commendable performances and start winning again. The Pakistanis have been very incompetent. They need to chalk out proper plans and execute it. It can be clearly seen that the batsmen have let them down completely more than the bowling unit.

Batting has looked quite easy in this ODI series, England have shown that four times in a row including a masterclass in the 3rd ODI. All Pakistan has done is post mediocre scores of around 250 when batting first. The only time they batted second they were chasing a mount Everest like target of 445 to win.

The Pakistanis need to push the accelerator and try to hit the 300 runs mark. It will be challenging. Cardiff doesn’t have batting friendly record. Teams have crossed the 300 run mark just 5 times out of the 33 matches played at the venue.

Their batting line-up might look bit raw but the top three – Sami Islam, Sharjeel Khan and Azhar Ali along with the middle order have showed that they can bat productively English conditions. Talking about the bowling attack, Mohammad Irfan, who gave a wonderful performance with the ball in the last game, has been ruled out from the rest of the tour and this means that Amir will be back into the attack.

Playing XI:

Shoaib Malik, Umar Gul, Sarfraz Ahmed, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam, Mohammad Nawaz, Sharjeel Khan, Mohammad Rizwan, Imad Wasim, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir

Stats:

  • England has posted 300+ score only once at this venue.
  • Pakistan’s highest total at this venue is a mere 257. They would hope to erase this history tomorrow.
  • Wahab Riaz has taken 95 wickets and needs 5 more to reach the 100 wickets milestone.