Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester
Date: Friday, August 28, 2020
This is the final format for this tour as the two sides have already battled through a three Test match campaign. While not all the players will be the same for this one, it is still worth look at how we got here to see which of the countries is in better form this late into the tour.
The Tests were something of an arduous affair as the classic English summer weather caused the second and third Tests to be drawn as a result of bad light and rain throughout the course of the five days. The only Test that came to a real conclusion – even though it also lost 41 overs of play on day 1 – was the first Test. In this one, England were able to win by three wickets after an outstanding bowling performance in the second innings saw Pakistan score just 169 runs as they were bowled out in 46.6 overs.
The third Test is the most recent information we have and in it, we saw the England batsmen really get on top. The hosts were 583/8 declared from their first innings – thanks in large part to a double century 267 from Zak Crawley. Pakistan put up 293 in their first innings and were resolute after they were forced to follow on. They were 187/4 – using excellent defensive cricket – in using the weather to their advantage to play out the draw.
England have won their last four T20I series on the bounce, but the white ball specialists will know they have something to prove after a ODI series with Ireland that could be described as lacklustre at best.
This will be an entirely different squad from those playing in the Tests as all the red-ball weary players have been rested ahead of an upcoming series with Australia. This means the likes of Joe Denly, Chris Jordan, and Dawid Malan will be looking to impress.
Some of the players in this team will have not played in a cricket match – outside of contests within the squad – since the PSL was canceled five months ago. There are 29 players in the squad and only 12 were used in the Test series. This means that there will be any number of fresh and hungry – if also a little rugby – players to come in and freshen up the team.
Keep an eye on the Pakistan seam attack – an area of the squad completely refreshed after white-ball failings as of late – with the likes of Haris Rauf, Shaheen Afridi, and – of course – Nassem Shah all very capable of tearing the England attack to shreds if they find their groove.
It will be weird to see a format of the game that was built specifically for fans and fan interaction taking place without anyone in the ground. Pakistan always have great support in England and the lack of a crowd for what has to be a tired traveling squad is a concern. England will win here but their 0.57 odds with BetXChange aren’t all that appealing. Taking Rauf to be the best bowler for Pakistan at 3.33 is worth a punt.