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Babar Azam-led Pakistan seek T20I resurgence

Eng v Pak, 1st T20I, preview

Pakistan, first in the MRF Tyres ICC T20I Team Rankings until recently, have slipped to the fourth position. They will now look to claw their way back up.

England v Pakistan, 1st T20I
Old Trafford, Manchester
Friday, 28 August, 06pm local time, 05pm GMT

After having ascended to the top of the Men's T20I Rankings in early 2018, Pakistan maintained pole position until the annual update in May where they dropped three places. The big drop in their standing was a reflection of cracks that had shown in the side for a few months.

In 2019, they'd lost four series in a row, including a 3-0 clean sweep at home at the hands of Sri Lanka in October.

Pakistan's main issue has been with the bat – they haven't passed 150 with the bat in their last seven T20Is.

Since the start of 2019, Pakistan's top seven have averaged just 21.98, while striking at an equally modest 122.14. By contrast, England's batsmen have averaged 30.91 at a strike-rate of 152.71.

Skipper Babar, who is the No.1 ranked batsman in T20Is, has been the shining light for Pakistan during that period and will hope for better returns from the rest of his team while attempting to keep up his own remarkable record.

England, winners of the 50-over ICC Men's World Cup in 2019, are one of the most potent sides in both forms of white-ball cricket. Their last series loss in T20I cricket was over two years ago, following which they have won five series on the trot.

Despite being low on experience due to the management's decision to not field players who took part in the recently concluded Test series and the unavailability of Jason Roy due to injury, the Eoin Morgan-led side will fancy their chances of another successful outing.

Remember the last time

The two sides last faced off in a one-off T20I at Cardiff in May 2019, when England overhauled Pakistan's score of 173/6 with seven wickets to spare. Morgan blitzed his way to a 29-ball 57 to take the game away from the visitors.

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