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Pakistan, England start series with eye on ICC World T20 2016

The contest is expected to be a keen one after the host won the Test series but the visitor bounced back to win the ODIs

Pakistan, England start series with eye on ICC World T20 2016 - Cricket News
Wahab Riaz celebrates.
When Pakistan and England meet in the three-match Twenty20 International series, along with the result, both teams will keep a close eye on the individual performances, keeping in mind the ICC World Twenty20 2016. 
 
Both Pakistan and England won their warm-up games against Hong Kong and United Arab Emirates respectively, but in the first T20I, to be played in Dubai on Thursday (November 26), it will be as competitive as it gets. Especially keeping in mind the outcomes in the series so far: Pakistan won the three-Test series 2-0, but England bounced back to take the One-Day International series 3-1.
  
Pakistan finished runners-up in the first edition of ICC World T20 in 2007, before winning the crown in 2009 in England, and is now ranked second in the ICC T20I team rankings. It needs to win at least by a 2-1 margin to stay there, a fact that Shahid Afridi, the captain, believes will spur his team on.

 
 
“We want to settle down before the World Twenty20,” said Afridi on Wednesday. “Besides that we are ranked No. 2, so it's an important series for us in many ways and we will do our best to win it.” 
 
In the absence of Saeed Ajmal, Pakistan’s leading wicket-taker in T20Is, and Umar Gul, who is recovering from an injury, it’s the younger bowlers will have to step up. Yasir Shah and Zafar Gohar, the spinners who troubled the England batsmen with their flight and spin in the ODI series, are also missing, but Pakistan can fall back on the experience of Sohail Tanvir and Wahab Riaz in the pace department.
 
England, which won the ICC World T20 in 2010, is ranked No. 8 in the shortest format but Trevor Bayliss, the coach, believes its success in the ODI series last week could give the squad a lot of confidence and help it play better than the ranking suggests.
 
“England players should have a lot of confidence from the way they've played going into the three T20 matches, knowing they can play in these conditions against this quality of opposition,” said Bayliss. 
 
“It's another step on the way to that World Twenty20 in March-April. We want to play this T20 series and win that as well as we possibly can, but it's also a bit of a testing ground.”
 
England’s batting wears a settled look with the likes of Alex Hales and Jason Roy at the top, and Jos Buttler and Eoin Morgan, the captain, the crucial cogs in the middle orders. Morgan will also expect Chris Woakes and Reece Topley to repeat their ODI heroics and deliver the goods with the ball. 
 
Teams (from)
Pakistan:
Shahid Afridi (capt) Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Rafatullah Mohmand, Shoaib Malik, Sohaib Maqsood, Umar Akmal, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfraz Ahmed, Anwar Ali, Bilal Asif, Imran Khan junior, Mohammad Irfan, Sohail Tanvir, Wahab Riaz, Aamer Yamin. 

England: Eoin Morgan (capt) Moeen Ali, Reece Topley, Jason Roy, James Vince, Chris Woakes, Jos Buttler, David Willey, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Sam Billings, Stephen Parry, Chris Jordan.

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