Pakistan suffered a 5-0 defeat against Australia, but their past success against England, including in the 2017 Champions Trophy, should put them in good stead to put that behind and tune up for the World Cup.
England v Pakistan
The Oval, London
Wednesday, 8 May; 1300hrs local time, 12:00pm GMT
The 5-0 rout they suffered at the hands of a rejuvenated Australian side will be heavily weighing on their minds as Pakistan look to handle early season conditions. Making that job harder is the fact that they are up against the No.1-ranked ODI team in the world, at their home. They can, however, take solace from the fact that two years ago, they had eased past England in similar circumstances in the semi-final of the ICC Champions Trophy. On a related note, the series will offer the last chance for the one of the heroes of that event, Mohammad Amir, to sneak into the World Cup squad.
England, on the other hand, are coming off victories over Ireland in a solitary ODI in Dublin, and then against Pakistan in the one-off T20I last week. That, along with their usual level of comfort in these conditions, will leave them high on confidence. Can they now use that to their advantage in the ODIs and tune up for the World Cup, which will be played in the same format?
Jofra Archer (England): The all-rounder has played only two international games so far, but has already impressed with fantastic displays of bowling. He was particularly brilliant in the solitary T20I, throttling Pakistan by dismissing two set half-centurions in the 16th over. Eoin Morgan, the captain, has said he expects more of the same, and this series could very well be the stepping stone to Archer's World Cup ambitions.
Fakhar Zaman (Pakistan): Zaman had a sub-par series against Australia this year. His performances were a far cry from those of last year, when he scored 875 runs in 17 games. But with two fifties and a century in four games, Zaman's past record in England should hold promising signs for his ability to turn it around before the World Cup.
There is a 60% chance of rain through the morning, with thunderstorms forecast for the afternoon. If the rains descend, this could become a start-stop affair. The last ODI played here was in June 2018, when England bowled out Australia for 214 and then struggled to chase down the total.
England: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Joe Denly, Chris Jordan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Vince, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood
Pakistan: Sarfaraz Ahmed (c), Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Abid Ali, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez, Imad Wasim, Yasir Shah, Hasan Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Junaid Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Amir, Asif Ali
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