Southampton: A demoralised Pakistan team look to turn the corner and stun the World Cup favourites England and regain their form when the two sides meet at Trent Bridge on Monday.
Reeling under the impact of getting bowled out for 105 against West Indies and crashing to a huge defeat in the first match, Pakistan team is facing the heat from all quarters.
Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmad have been criticised as the most ‘unfit’ captain and many former cricketers have accused them as one of the worst batting sides. England will be looking to further damage Pakistan’s reputation with their bowlers. Trent Bridge pitch is known to help batsmen and it is a good opportunity for Pakistan to post a good score and regain their lost confidence.
England skipper Eoin Morgan is aware of this and hence wants his bowlers to be at their best on that wicket. “I think there’s a good case for playing any of our bowlers. We’ll have to adapt to anything the wicket throws up. If there is anything to exploit, hopefully we’ll select the right team.”
England carries with them the confidence of having twice set world records for the highest score in a One-day International at this venue - piling up 444 for three against Pakistan in 2016 against and then going on to overhaul that by posting 481 for six against Australia an year ago. “To get something near that, you need to play unbelievably well. It starts with the very basics with getting yourself into an innings and each batter starting and trying to establish a partnership.”
England also carries with them the confidence of having posted a 4-0 series win over Pakistan before the World Cup. Morgan knows very well that despite all the confidence, Pakistan on their day can be dangerous and it is not simply they are addressed as the most unpredictable team. He also knows they are the team that won the Champions Trophy here. “We’re preparing for Pakistan at their best. Only two years ago they were the best side in the Champions Trophy, they turned us over and then India. We’ll be preparing as best we can for their A-game,” he said.
Azhar Mahmood, the Pakistan bowling coach, has come up with a pep talk - stating that his team needs only 10 good balls to destroy England. “I am hearing that people talking about 480 to 500 score on this wicket, let me tell you that England has to play 300 deliveries to score that much and we just need 10 good deliveries, 10 wicket-taking deliveries. And this bowling line has the ability to bowl England out for under 300,”
Mahmood does not want to even hear about Pakistan having lost 11 matches in a row. He said what matters is to beat England and then everything will be fine. “It’s true that we have lost 11 games and we are in search of a win. We have set our plans for that and just need proper execution to achieve that. This team has the ability to bounce back and God willing, we will do it tomorrow.”
Mahmood reminded that in one-day cricket, they are not very far down the order. “We can beat them in the one-day series, we were not that far from England. We know what England can do and we know what we can do.”
Catch the match
England vs Pakistan
Trent Bridge, Nottingham
Match starts at 1.30 pm
Live telecast on OSN Sports Network