England v Pakistan, ICC 1st semi-final Match Preview

June 14, 2017

Most people expected England to qualify at the top of their group and reach the semi-finals, but not many gave Pakistan a chance after their shambolic performance against India in their first match. But here they are, and they have looked very dangerous indeed.

Pakistan have had two spectacular wins, one against South Africa and another against Sri Lanka. They were made to sweat in the match against Sri Lanka, but their long batting line-up saw them through, as they chased a score of 236 set by the Lankans while losing 7 wickets in the process.

Sarfaraz Ahmed, the captain, was the man of the match and he was inspirational. Mohammad Amir’s batting was brilliant as well, coming at No. 9.

England have looked imperious with both the bat and the ball. Their bowling has been very effective with Mark Wood looking fast and accurate. Liam Plunkett has been very good as well, as have been Jake Ball and Ben Stokes. The spin bowling duo of Adil Rashid and Moeen Khan have been good, with Rashid in particular coming for a lot of praise.

As for the batting, Eoin Morgan and Ben Stokes have been brilliant so far. The two of them, along with Joe Root and Jos Butler, have given England the strongest middle order in the competition. Eoin Morgan in particular looks to be in the form of his life.

The only worry is the form of the opening batsman Jason Roy. He has been given enough chances to perform, but has failed every time.  Morgan hinted in the press conference that Jonny Bairstow would probably get the go ahead to replace Roy in the crucial opening position.

Morgan said, “I’d have no worries if [Bairstow] has to open the batting. I certainly believe we’re in a good position at the moment as a batting unit, and if Jonny does get the opportunity, I’m sure he’ll take it with both hands.”

So who is going to win? England are the overwhelming favorites, but Pakistan are the most unpredictable cricket team in the world. You never know what to expect from them.

The Teams

England : 1 Alex Hales, 2 Jonny Bairstow, 3 Joe Root, 4 Eoin Morgan (capt), 5 Ben Stokes, 6 Jos Buttler (wk), 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Adil Rashid, 9 Liam Plunkett, 10 Mark Wood, 11 Jake Ball.

Pakistan : 1 Azhar Ali, 2 Fakhar Zaman, 3 Babar Azam, 4 Mohammad Hafeez, 5 Shoaib Malik, 6 Sarfraz Ahmed (capt, wk), 7 Imad Wasim, 8 Mohammad Amir, 9 Fahim Ashraf/Shabab Khan, 10 Hasan Ali, 11 Junaid Khan.

Match conditions

The weather has improved considerably over the last few days in England and Wales. The sun is out in Cardiff and we expect a high scoring game. The side batting second will have an advantage.

Watch England take on Pakistan in the 1st semi-final of the ICC Champion’s Trophy on 3:00 PM Wednesday Live on Star Sports!

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