England and Pakistan will look to attempt to begin their ODI series on Saturday after only managing 10 overs or so in the first ODI at The Oval on Wednesday. The two teams have made the short trip to Southampton for the second game eager to get on the field.
There are now just four proper ODIs for both sides ahead of the World Cup so whether they win or lose, both teams will be desperate for the remainder of the series to be unaffected by the weather so that they can finalise their preparations.
We couldn’t really tell a whole lot about England from the short period of play that we saw at The Oval, but what we did see suggested that there is an upgrade in their bowling attack. That said, conditions were suitable to them and that might not be the case moving forward so it is important that they don’t get carried away with that effort, and that they continue to improve.
We will find out a lot more about England in this match because it is expected that we are going to see their first choice batting line up in action for the first time this summer so we will be able to get a better gauge on how they are going. England were unconvincing against Ireland in their last completed match so they will be keen to showcase their best cricket in this one.
Although they lost a couple of wickets in the play that was possible at The Oval, I was actually quite impressed with Pakistan because in years gone by they could easily have got themselves in a right pickle and ended up being 30/4 or something silly. Admittedly it wouldn’t have mattered in terms of this series but building some positivity in their minds heading into the World Cup it might just have been bigger than we could know.
Batting conditions should be a lot better here so in many ways this could be even more of an acid test than what they faced at The Oval. If they can bat positively and on the front foot then that will send a real message out to not just England for the remainder of this series but the other sides coming over in the World Cup. We know Pakistan have an excellent bowling attack so if they can bat well they will be huge runners later in the summer.
England are expected to have Jason Roy and Moeen Ali fit for this match after they missed The Oval game with injuries. Mark Wood is not expected to link up with the squad until the next game in Bristol. James Vince and Joe Denly are likely to make way.
Pakistan are likely to have Shoaib Malik to call upon here after he joined up with the squad after time off for personal issues. Mohammad Hafeez is making good progress but is not expected to be risked until he has fully recovered from his thumb injury.
I’ll go with a couple of bets in this match with the first of them coming in the form of the sixes market. The Ageas Bowl is a massive ground and sixes do not come very naturally here whoever is playing. In fact last year’s ODI here was the only one which has covered the line of 9.5 for this match and that had a big hitting West Indies side in it including Chris Gayle who splattered it everywhere. Pakistan don’t have that but what they do have is a high class attack that can stop England hitting many sixes. I don’t expect many sixes throughout this series as a rule and I certainly don’t expect many here. I’ll play the under here.
Eoin Morgan averages more than 67 on this ground in his 12 ODIs here and so the 7/4 on him to make 50 in the match looks on the large side. Morgan has already made a 50 against this attack in the T20 match earlier in the week and on one of his favourite grounds he can pass that landmark once again. If there is a weakness in this Pakistan attack then right now it comes in the form of a lack of potency in the middle overs with Shadab Khan absent. That can play into Morgan’s hands so I’m on the England captain to pass 50 here.
Back Under 9.5 sixes for a 4/10 stake at 1.83 with Coral
WON – Back E.Morgan to score 50+ for a 2/10 stake at 2.75 with Coral