England chased down 223 to beat South Africa in their last Twenty20 international before lockdown and they were at it again against Pakistan at Old Trafford on Sunday.
It was a case of ‘no Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes and Jason Roy, no problem’ for England as skipper Eoin Morgan cracked 66 off 33 balls to lead his side to an imposing target of 196 with five balls to spare.
Tom Banton, Jonny Bairstow and Dawid Malan have demonstrated the strength in depth of England’s T20 batting department and they will be aiming to wrap up a series win with more big-hitting fireworks in Manchester.
England’s Power Could Prove Decisive
Pakistan’s score of 195-4 on Sunday was the highest total they have failed to defend in Twenty20 internationals and their bowlers will need to pick themselves up after being mauled by Morgan, Malan and Bairstow.
Babar Azam’s side looked odds on for victory after the first innings on Sunday and things could have been very different if Morgan hadn’t survived a marginal lbw review against Shadab Khan from the second ball he faced.
The tourists should also be encouraged by England’s collapse from 109-2 to 123-6 before rain ended the first game of the series prematurely but failed to build any pressure on the hosts in Sunday’s clash. Pakistan’s chances of an improved showing with the ball won’t be helped by the news that they won’t have left-arm quick bowler Mohammad Amir, who suffered a hamstring injury on Sunday.
With England’s batting order now so deep and the majority of Pakistan’s bowlers struggling to land a glove on their opponents, Morgan’s men will be confident of picking up the win.
Brilliant Banton Can Make His Mark
Somerset youngster Tom Banton has made a big impression at the top of the order, cracking 71 off just 42 balls in the first game and hitting an outrageous reverse-sweep six off Imad Wasim in Sunday’s knock of 20.
Banton has struck at least one six in his first five Twenty20 innings for England and he is worth backing at
3/1 to top-score in the final game of the series.
Only Pakistan skipper, and Somerset opening partner, Babar scored more runs than Banton in last summer’s T20 Blast and he has taken the step up to international level in his stride.
Such is the competition for places in England’s batting unit that he needs to score heavily almost every time he gets a chance and he could outshine
9/4 favourite Bairstow, consistent
7/2 shot Malan and in-form
5/1 chance Morgan.
Shadab Hoping to Have Hosts in a Spin
The one time England’s batsmen looked vulnerable in Sunday’s run-chase was in a brilliant first over by leg-spinner Shadab Khan, who is a tempting
11/4 to be Pakistan’s top wicket-taker.
Shadab induced a top edge from Bairstow, pinned Banton lbw and very nearly trapped Morgan in front of his stumps inside his first five deliveries.
He finished with excellent figures of 3-34 in a high-scoring game, having also dismissed Banton and Moeen Ali in the first game at Old Trafford.
Old Trafford pitches tend to favour spinners and Adil Rashid is the
9/4 favourite to be England’s most successful bowler after dismissing both Pakistan openers on Sunday.