The only thing consistent about cricket in Pakistan has been unpredictability. Having produced innumerable players of extraordinary talent who have gone on to fade away from the limelight, the agony of not being able to make it big on the world stage continues to loom over the war torn nation. On Wednesday, they will be up against an English side that has seen a remarkable transformation in the shorter formats over the last couple of years.
The English Transformation
Things fell in place for the England team right after a forgettable 2015 WC as they roped in the players who could execute a fearless brand of cricket — embracing the trend that they had erstwhile decided to ignore. Though Jason Roy’s form might be a concern, it has not been one to make you sit back and notice.
Their batting unit surrounding the spry Joe Root has chased down a 300 plus target once, while putting up one themselves and winning by a comfortable margin. In their last match, they ruthlessly took the game away from a mundane Australia. And in Ben Stokes, to go by Morgan’s words, they have someone whom every team wants. Mark Wood and Jake Ball, both have stepped up in the absence of Chris Woakes and Plunkett would step in to the knockouts with two four-fers to his name in the last three games.
Erratic and Unpredictable
Pakistan too lost one of their main pacers to injury in their first game versus India, but since then, it has been the potency of their bowling unit that has brought them back into the tournament. Though Amir and Junaid are lethal with the new ball, Hasan Ali in the middle overs has done most of the damage to the opposition. Short and fast, the batsmen are finding it difficult to get going against him and with the kind of pace he is able to extract.
Their batting department was stretched to the limit in the last game against Sri Lanka, only to chase down a modest 237. Their batters can surely expect a tougher task against the home side and it could well depend upon skipper Sarfraz again to put his hand up.
The game tomorrow may head in whatever way possible, the home team will have the crowd behind them, commentators may yell for a better fight against the favorites, the win predictor may show you a humongous victory percentage for the England. But, when the opposition is Pakistan, put aside all analysis and glue yourself to the television sets. The game is on.