England have their first chance to secure a share of the ongoing ODI series with Pakistan on Tuesday, when the two sides meet in the third game in Bristol. Pakistan will be eyeing up levelling the series so we should get another decent game of cricket here.
Although this series is what is currently going on, both sides have the World Cup in their minds now so while they will technically want to win here the priority is likely to be on getting themselves fully prepared for that tournament.
I think we saw the true England in a nutshell in Southampton on Saturday. We saw the brutal exponents of the modern brand of cricket with the bat and then we saw the team who can struggle with the ball at times too. England need to resolve the latter issue ahead of the World Cup beginning as in a knockout match that could cost them, but if that is their only problem they are not in a bad place.
I suspect over the next three matches we are going to see the depth that Eoin Morgan and his coaching staff have at their disposal. We are a few days from the World Cup squads officially being named and there are one or two places up for grabs still. With that in mind, everyone who gets their chance here will be eager to take full advantage of it.
While we saw what we expected from England in that previous match, the same certainly cannot be said for Pakistan who delivered the complete opposite of what we should have imagined we would get from them. They were pretty ordinary with the ball, especially in the second half of their bowling innings, but they were brilliant and brutal with the bat, even though they fell a dozen short of their target.
It will be interesting to see if that flipped performance was a one-off or whether that is the new Pakistan. It would be a shame if they don’t have a bowling attack that can thrill watchers during the World Cup but if that is the case so be it. I think most people have identified that to win that tournament a mountain of runs are going to need to be scored and based on the evidence of Southampton, Pakistan have a line up that is capable.
It would appear that England are going to rest Jos Buttler and Adil Rashid for this match. Jonny Bairstow will take the gloves with Joe Denly and James Vince likely to come into the side. Mark Wood is still being kept in reserve.
Pakistan will have to make a change to their side because Yasir Shah looked awful in Southampton. Shadab Khan isn’t back yet so it could be Junaid Khan who comes in. That might see Shoaib Malik be included to make use of his off spin.
I’ll go with three bets for this ODI. The first of them is on a Pakistan win. There is every reason to believe that Pakistan would have won the previous match had it not been for Jos Buttler’s heroics and they won’t have to worry about that in this match. Adil Rashid is probably England’s best bowler in this format of the game too and they are not coming up against him either. Pakistan won’t have to tinker too much to get their bowling to produce better performances and with their batsmen looking fine throughout the tour so far this looks to be a golden chance for the men in green to pick up a win.
I’m also expecting plenty of boundaries in this match. England might not have Buttler here but they have a raft of batsmen who can do some damage while Pakistan showed in that last game that they can get stuck into this England attack. This Bristol wicket is no longer the minefield it used to be. There were three scores of over 280 in four matches here in the Royal London One Day Cup. The boundaries line for this match is 59.5 which looks low to be given how accessible the straight boundaries are since the flats were built. I’ll take the over on this line.
I’ll also have a little dabble on Moeen Ali to top score for England here. At some point in this series I expect him to get a significant contribution with the bat and given that I would imagine England will rest him along the way this could be the ideal time to give him a hit. That might mean that he gets shoved up the order into the Buttler position if needs be but at the same time if he gets in batting in his usual position he can top score as he showed here last year when he belted that outstanding 102 off 57 balls against West Indies. He’s 18/1 to top score which will be massive if he goes up the order.
Back Pakistan to beat England for a 3/10 stake at 3.20 with Bet365
WON – Back Over 59.5 boundaries for a 4/10 stake at 1.83 with William Hill
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Back M.Ali Top England Batsman for a 1/10 stake at 19.00 with Betfred
Back him here: