England produced a devastating performance to thrash Pakistan by nine wickets in the first ODI in Cardiff and there is every chance the hosts can notch another victory to wrap up the three-match series with a game to spare.
After being forced to pick a whole new squad, the way an inexperienced England went about their business on Thursday shows just how blessed the country is in the limited-overs format.
Having named nine uncapped players in the revised squad, five were handed debuts in the Welsh capital and it was Zak Crawley, who is firmly involved on the Test stage, who starred with an unbeaten 58.
Phil Salt, Lewis Gregory, Brydon Carse and John Simpson were the other four players to make their bow in 50-over cricket and the quartet will be eager to get another chance to impress on Saturday.
Undoubtedly the star of the show was Saqib Mahmood, who took two wickets in the first three balls of the match, as his career-best figures of 4-42 helped bowl Pakistan out for a miserable 141, a target England reached with 28.1 overs to spare.
The action now heads to Lord’s for the second ODI and, based on that first encounter, it is hard to look past another win for the hosts.
England on a Roll
With that win in Cardiff, England are on a three-game winning streak in one-day internationals and that record would have most likely been standing at four, had the rain not forced the abandonment of the final ODI against Sri Lanka at the start of this month.
This is, of course, a new-look squad which is being led by Ben Stokes, but the foundations that have made the Three Lions such a force in limited-overs cricket remain and they are hard to oppose on Saturday.
20/29 to pick up the series-deciding win and they get the nod ahead of Pakistan, who are
21/20 to secure up their first ODI win over England at Lord’s since September 2010.
Mahmood Makes Bold England Claim
After playing four ODI’s last year, Mahmood had started to slip away from the England reckoning, but this squad change has provided him with another chance to impress and boy did he take that on Thursday.
The 24-year-old seamer, who plays county cricket for Lancashire, produced a fantastic spell of bowling with his pace, bounce and superb length causing all sorts of problems for the Pakistan batsmen.
5/2 to be England’s top bowler in the second ODI and that looks an appealing price.
Also, with two of his wickets coming by way of LBW, backing the first wicket method to come this way again at
6/1 is worth a punt.
Give Salt Another Go
It may not have been the debut that opener Phil Salt dreamt about, as he scored just seven, but it was his ODI debut after all and I’m happy to give him another chance to be England’s top batsman at
The 24-year-old has Big Bash experience, amassing 361 runs to finish as Adelaide Strikers’ fourth-highest run-scorer in the 2019/20 tournament, while he averages 32.93 in List A matches for Sussex.
If given another chance at the top of the order, Salt could be ready to make a big score and announce himself on the international stage.
Shaheen Shines Despite Struggles
Although Pakistan got a hammering in the first ODI, the tip of Shaheen Afridi to be his country’s top bowler came off as he was the only person to take a wicket for the Men in Green.
The signs were clear to see, with the seamer arriving off the back of a successful campaign in the 2021 Pakistan Super League, where he took 16 scalps to end as the third-highest wicket-taker.
At just 21, Afridi is already a handful for opposition batsmen and he took his tally of ODI wickets to 52 when dismissing Salt last time out.
The paceman certainly looked dangerous in Cardiff and he can transfer that form to Lord’s on Saturday – priced at
5/2, Afridi gets the nod again to be Pakistan’s top bowler.
*All odds correct at time of writing