It’s only been one game, in Southampton on Wednesday, and the 44-run (D/L method) loss for Pakistan was certainly not so much because it was poor but because England is an entirely different beast when it comes to limited-overs cricket these days.
But it’s not fair to rule Pakistan out, whatever the format. Pakistan showed exactly how well it can bounce back in that Test series, coming back from 2-1 down to square the result and give itself a shot at that No. 1 position, which it achieved once the Port of Spain Test between West Indies and India ended in a rain-hit draw. It’s that ability to upset calculations that Pakistan must try and pull off when it gets a second shot at England on Saturday (August 27) at Lord’s in the second game of the series.
Pakistan will be buoyed by the fact that the last time it was at Lord’s, which was over a month ago for the first Test, it won by 75 runs. A repeat of that will help Pakistan, not only in the context of the series but also to try and improve on the 1-9 record it has against England in their ten most recent games in the format.
In the first game, chasing a not-too-big target of 261 (which was recalculated after rain), Jason Roy and Joe Root played sensible hands, scoring 60s and putting together 89 runs for the second wicket. Once they fell, Eoin Morgan and Ben Stokes, playing only as a batsman following an injury layoff, looked good too. In the first half, with the ball, Mark Wood and Liam Plunkett sent down bolts at over 90mph, and none of the bowlers, bar Root, the part-time off-spinner, conceded more than 5.70 runs per over.
All of which suggests a tough time out again for Pakistan, which had Azhar Ali (80) and Sarfraz Ahmed (55) to thank for giving the total some respectability.
England knows what it is up against and look like it has all bases covered. As such, one of the teams need to live up to its newly acquired reputation, while the other needs to belie theirs – Pakistan is No. 5 in the ICC ODI team rankings to England’s No. 5.
England: Eoin Morgan (capt), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler (wk), Liam Dawson, Chris Jordan, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Jake Ball, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.
Pakistan: Azhar Ali (capt), Sharjeel Khan, Sami Aslam, Mohammad Hafeez, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, Umar Gul, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Nawaz.
Please click here to review the match in full in the ICC Match Centre