Pakistan vs England is set to be one of the most talked about matches of the Tri-series. The two teams have faced off at three different occasions so far – one in South Korea, one in England. But what can we expect on the big day? Here are some thoughts:
Pakistan vs England – A WINNER! With both teams looking strong and featuring some top class players, Pakistan vs England is considered a must watch competition for die-hard fans. The two teams have made good impressions on the field, especially with captain Azhar Ali and studs like Junaid Khan and Sulemanjeevan Kauser. The two teams have also impressed the tourists with their on field displays, which have deservedly earned them a share of the honours thus far.
The teams line up for Pakistan vs England is pretty balanced overall. The all-round talents of Azhar and Aziz Butt is certainly worth mentioning, but what’s more important here is the defensive unit. Junaid and Sohail Butt have formed an excellent partnership throughout the season, and it has paid dividends with some excellent displays against both Associates and Tests. But it has not been enough to win the title. For this reason, I think it is a fair to say that the only potential team success in this tournament comes from Sulemanjeevan Kauser and injured batsman Mumtaz Mahu.
Two debutants have impressed in this competition, both making their debuts. The most notable is Azharullah. He has impressed with some great knocks, although his debut was against New Zealand in Dubai earlier this year. But since then he has played only three times against England, scoring two and picking up a century. It is debatable whether he will ever fulfill his full potential given the pace that England’s top players possess, but he is certainly one to watch and looks like a good bet if you are planning a Pakistan vs England pool.
Then there is Mumtaz Mahi, who has impressed at the Under-19 World Cup, where he picked up three wickets and took 6 wickets against Australia. Though he did not play any international matches, he impressed enough to be selected in Pakistan’s squad for the Champions Trophy. Previously, he had impressed with the bat as well as the glove – a fine performer in academy cricket in Birmingham. Though he did not play any matches, he impressed enough to be named as one of the best Twenty20 players in England. The other debutant to excite fans is Azhar Husain, who has impressed with some fine bowling performances, although he has not picked up enough runs to make an impact.
If Azhar can be called a debutant, then he will be the fourth player to feature for Pakistan this summer. Yarde is another batsman, although he did not pick up any wickets in his first match and did not impress with his bat. However, he did manage to score a century, which came against a top-class touring side and made him more popular. Azhar’s century came at a time when Yarde has not been in great form, and he has also not impressed at the outfield position. He remains to be one of the favourites to replace Azhar Husain at the top of the order, after scoring a century against England on his debut, although veteran opener Ramiz Raja Butt is fit again after missing the last two matches due to injury.
Other than these four, Pakistan will not feature many players who have tasted success at the IPL. However, if you are looking for a good show from a cricket match, then you cannot ignore the Manchester City vs Pakistan match. As always, a home side that scores more runs in the first half than the opposition will win, and this too is the case for the Manchester City versus Pakistan series. Captaincy (captain Shikh Sharif Butt), all round performances (effortless hitting, timely strokes) by Miadhammad Yousaf, consistent Twenty20 skills ofAR Husain and some great finishing from Ramadan Sarpind may push the visitors out of their comfort zone.
Where does this leave Pakistan vs England? Pakistan is yet to face an English team that has won on their own soil, and they are yet to win a Test series on the other side of the world. If they manage to win one or draw one, it will certainly be a major scalp for the English side. On the other hand, there are many positives for the PMP side. Yarde is the star performer, and captain Azhar’s leadership qualities will bring the team a long way. I feel that the PMP has many things to prove as well, after a near-perfect run of the last two years, but till they can win a Test match I will remain a positive Pakistan vs England fan.