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Tuesday January 31, 2023

Middle order failures continue to worry Pakistan camp

England found conditions a bit tough in Lahore as the pitches here are a bit slower and more spin-friendly

September 30, 2022
Englands Mark Wood celebrate after the dismissal of Pakistan´s Asif Ali (R) during the fifth Twenty20 international cricket match between Pakistan and England at the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium in Lahore on September 28, 2022. —AFP
England's Mark Wood celebrate after the dismissal of Pakistan´s Asif Ali (R) during the fifth Twenty20 international cricket match between Pakistan and England at the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium in Lahore on September 28, 2022. —AFP

LAHORE: Though the hosts gained lead for the first time in the series on Wednesday, Pakistan camp remains worried about its middle order batsmen's inability to play big innings.

Five matches have gone and still Asif Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Haider Ali, and Mohammad Nawaz are yet to make any major contribution with the bat. The pressure on Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam to contribute at the top has been immense.

Rizwan has proved almost invincible. England stand-in captain Moeen Ali has admitted they have not found any solution to tackle him.

For England, it would be about getting their batting in order. Apart from Moeen Ali, no batsman has been consistent. Jos Buttler is not fully recovered, and he is unlikely to play.

Pakistan bowlers proved in the fifth match that they are a world-class attack, even without Naseem Shah. All of the seven bowlers including the debutant Aamer, made their presence felt.

England found conditions a bit tough in Lahore as the pitches here are a bit slower and more spin-friendly.

Mark Wood has been impressive in a couple of games, picking up three wickets in each game. He finished with 3 for 24 in four overs in the third T20I, helping the visitors seal a 63-run win. And he ended with 3 for 20 in four overs in the fifth one. He is also the second-highest wicket-taker in the series, only behind Pakistan’s Haris Rauf.

The surface in Gaddafi Stadium as seen in the previous match offers an even contest between bat and ball. The average total on this ground over the last five T20Is that produced a result is 156. Teams batting first on this ground have won the game eight times while teams chasing have also won as many times. It is likely that the team winning the toss will opt to bowl first and pace their innings depending on the target in the second innings.

Squads:

Pakistan - Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Haider Ali, Shan Masood, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Nawaz, Usman Qadir, Haris Rauf, Naseem Shah, Shahnawaz Dahani, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Haris, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Abrar Ahmed, Aamer Jamal.

England — Alex Hales, Philip Salt (wk), Dawid Malan, Ben Duckett, Harry Brook, Moeen Ali (c), Sam Curran, David Willey, Luke Wood, Adil Rashid, Richard Gleeson, Liam Dawson, Olly Stone, Will Jacks, Jordan Cox, Tom Helm.

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