After cruising to a comfortable victory in the tournament opener, hosts England will look to repeat the same performance when they take on Pakistan for their second game of ICC World Cup 2019. Pakistan, on the other hand, had suffered a humiliating defeat in their first match against West Indies and would be determined to revive their fate.
In the five-match series between both the teams, played right before the World Cup, England had thrashed Pakistan 4-0. But given the history of the ‘Men in Green’ in ICC tournaments, the Sarfaraz Ahmed-led side would not be taken lightly by England, who are being touted as the prime favourites to win this year’s mega event.
Leading to the 10-nation tournament, though Pakistan were humbled by the top-ranked ODI side, three different Pakistani batsmen had scored centuries in three matches while Sarfaraz Ahmed fell three short in the fourth match. Thus the 1992 World Cup winners do possess some matchwinners in their ranks and would throw a genuine challenge to the ‘Three Lions’ and it will be interesting to see if today’s match produces any different results than the bilateral series.
Following is the list of five key players who might create an impact in today’s game.
The superstar all-rounder, who seemed to have found his form at the right time, was the man of the match against South Africa. Stokes scored 89, before taking a blinder of a catch and dismissing two opponent batsmen. Thus, it is expected from the Durham cricketer to impose the same kind of impact with his all-round performance.
Jofra Archer, who was a last-minute inclusion in England’s World Cup squad, proved the selectors right in the first game itself after he returned with a figure of 3-27 in just seven overs. In the warm-up matches also the Barbados-born cricketer had shone with the ball.
The wicket-keeper batsman has been in in the best form of his life for more than a year now. He has scored at a rate of above-70 in this calendar year and performs the role of the most important player in the English middle-order. Though he didn’t have a desired outing in the first game against South Africa, with his current form he can turn the game upside down in just a couple of overs.
Pakistan’s Babar Azam has emerged as the side’s best batsman in recent times. He was outstanding against England during their ODI series as he smashed 261 runs in four matches which included one ton and two half-centuries. During their first match against West Indies, Azam was the highest run-getter along with Fakhar Zaman as both scored 22 runs.
Pakistan pacer Mohammad Amir displayed an astonishing performance in their first World Cup match, despite his team lost the match by seven wickets. Although Pakistan lost the match, they took a positive thing out of it, which was getting back Mohammad Amir’s form. It was Amir who took all the three wickets in the inning and will be aiming to replicate a similar performance against the hosts.
England will face Pakistan on June 3.