Pakistan vs England: Preview and Prediction
The curtains are coming down rapidly as the World Cup 2023 has come to its business end. It started off slowly, but as the knockout stage drew closer, the tournament picked up its pace.
Now, everyone is eagerly waiting to determine the fourth semifinalist, as India, South Africa, and Australia have already qualified. New Zealand, Pakistan, and Afghanistan are still in contention for that last spot.
However, it will be decided on the penultimate day of the league stage of the tournament which team will be the fourth semifinalist. Babar Azam-led Pakistan will face England on Saturday at 2 p.m. in the 44th match of the event, which will take place at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens.
Pakistani opener Fakhar Zaman emerged as the savior for his team by snatching victory from the jaws of defeat against the Blackcaps and keeping his side alive in the race for the fourth spot which could see an India vs Pakistan semi-final at the Wankhade Stadium.
Jos Buttler-led England has already been eliminated from the tournament, but a lot is at stake for the English team’s future as they are still in contention for qualification to the 2025 Champions Trophy set to be hosted by Pakistan.
England’s miracle man, Ben Stokes, smashed a century against the Netherlands, giving something to cheer for his team and elevating them to the seventh spot in the league standings.
The double-header on Saturday would be crucial for the English side as they would be asking for a favor from arch-rivals Australia to defeat Bangladesh in a crunching manner in the match starting at 10:30 a.m. IST.
What have they done so far?
Pakistan has managed to play good cricket in bits and pieces. They started their campaign with two consecutive wins against the Netherlands and Sri Lanka. However, following these two good wins, they collapsed against India and Australia.
Afghanistan made history by comfortably defeating Pakistan for the first time in ODIs, winning by 8 wickets. Pakistan’s misery continued as the next match against the Proteas became the first nail-biter of the ongoing tournament as the Shaheens lost by just a margin of 1 wicket.
But Pakistan peaked at the right time. In the match against Bangladesh, Fakhar replaced Imam-ul-Haq as the opener, and fortunes changed for the team. They defeated Bangladesh by 7 wickets, and against the Blackcaps, against all odds, Pakistan registered a memorable 21-run win by D/L Method.
England shocked everyone with their pathetic performance having lost to the Blackcaps in the opening match of the tournament. They did defeat Bangladesh by 137 runs, but nobody would have imagined that after that they would lose five consecutive matches on the trot.
One of the shocking defeats came against Afghanistan, who stunned England with a 69-run win. Proteas, Sri Lanka, India, and Australia demolished England’s hopes of qualification into the Semis. Nevertheless, England finally broke their losing streak by defeating the Netherlands in their penultimate match by 160 runs.
Head to Head Record
In their ODI history, Pakistan and England have faced off in a total of 91 matches, with England emerging victorious on 56 occasions while Pakistan secured a win 32 times. Notably, three of these encounters concluded in draws.
When it comes to their World Cup clashes, the two teams have crossed paths 10 times, with Pakistan holding a slight advantage of 5 victories to England’s 4, and a lone match ending in a draw in 1992.
Fakhar Zaman (Pakistan): Fakhar turned the tides in Pakistan’s favor, as the southpaw played some classical selfless innings against Bangladesh and the Blackcaps. In the match against Bangladesh, he scored 81 runs off 74 balls, helping his team stay alive in the tournament.
In the must-win game against the Blackcaps, he went berserk and scored an unbeaten 126 runs off just 81 balls in the rain-affected match. Pakistan was nowhere in the game, but Fakhar made a mockery of the New Zealand bowling single-handedly and will be key for Pakistan.
Dawid Malan (England): Dawid Malan is the only batsman in the entire English squad who showed signs of batting deep into the innings. He played some fearless innings against Bangladesh, Australia, and the Netherlands scoring two half-centuries and a century in the process.
He can emerge as a nightmare for the weak Pakistani bowling lineup, especially for the pacer Haris Rauf, who has yet to leave a mark in the ongoing tournament. In 2023, Malan scored 964 runs in 17 ODI innings with an impressive average of 60.25.
Pakistan: Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam ©, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Agha Salman, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Haris Rauf.
England: Jason Roy, Dawid Malan, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Harry Brook, Jos Buttler © (wk), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, David Willey, Mark Wood, Adil Rashid.
It would be nothing short of a miracle if Pakistan ended up qualifying for the semi-final. However, to achieve that, they have to approach the match against England with utmost intensity as Pakistan would need to pull out all the stops to secure those crucial two points.
As history suggests, when Pakistan is down and out, they often bring their A-game to the field, and the same could happen against England, who struggled in India throughout the tournament. Pakistan has the capability to deliver the final punch in the tournament by defeating England in the virtual quarter-final if they win by a huge margin.