England v Pakistan, Group E, World T20, Barbados

Two sides searching for consistency

The Preview by Sahil Dutta

May 5, 2010

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Match Facts

Thursday, May 6, Bridgetown
Start time 0930 (1330 GMT)

The Big Picture


Eoin Morgan blended caution with invention as he held England's innings together, England v Ireland, World Twenty20, Guyana, May 4, 2010
Eoin Morgan will be the wicket Pakistan most need © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Eoin Morgan | Kevin Pietersen | Saeed Ajmal
Series/Tournaments: ICC World Twenty20
Teams: England | Pakistan

If Twenty20 cricket is routinely unpredictable, played by England and Pakistan it's an absolute lottery. No sooner had England treated their fans to a fearless run-fest against West Indies than they were grinding out a tetchy 121 against Ireland. Similarly, Pakistan, the defending champions, put on an assured performance to beat Bangladesh by 21 runs but were completely outgunned by Australia a day later. It's no surprise, then, that the last time these sides met, in Dubai in February, the series was shared one apiece.

Given South Africa's patchy form Group E is wide open and the conditions in Barbados should suit the positive style both Pakistan and England prefer. Shahid Afridi's rigid captaincy, sticking to a dressing-room plan to bowl Mohammad Hafeez in spite of the evidence did as much as anything to undermine his side's hopes against Australia. Pakistan need Afridi to bring the freedom he plays with to his leadership if Pakistan are to threaten England's batting.

England, for their part, remain untested in the field. Their punt on Ryan Sidebottom's left-arm angle has failed to come off in two brief outings and on the faster surface in Barbados he may find himself under pressure from James Anderson. The one man who seems almost certain to deliver is Eoin Morgan. His rise in the limited-overs format has coincided with England's and he could prove the difference.

Form guide (most recent first)

England: LWLWW
Pakistan: LWWLL

Watch out for...

While Mohammad Hafeez's spin didn't come off against Australia, Saeed Ajmal showed, once again, how strong he is in this format. He has one of the best doosras in the game and is up against a line-up that, historically at least, prefers pace on the ball.

Coming off the back of an electrifying IPL experience, Kevin Pietersen was sure to set the World Twenty20 alight. Yet two games and two identical dismissals later, we're still waiting for that barnstorming knock. The bouncy track and lively pace attack should get him ticking.

Team news

Mohammad Sami was destroyed by Australia, which will surely point the Pakistan selectors in the direction of Mohammad Asif, who, it should be remembered, has an impressive record against Kevin Pietersen.

Pakistan (probable) 1 Salman Butt, 2 Kamran Akmal (wk), 3 Shahid Afridi (capt), 4 Abdul Razzaq, 5 Misbah-ul-Haq, 6 Mohammad Hafeez, 7 Umar Akmal, 8 Fawad Alam, 9 Mohammad Asif, 10 Mohammad Aamer, 11 Saeed Ajmal.

With Pietersen still available, England's only issue is their fast bowling, with James Anderson looking likely to step in for Ryan Sidebottom.

England (probable) 1 Michael Lumb, 2 Craig Kieswetter, 3 Kevin Pietersen, 4 Paul Collingwood (capt), 5 Eoin Morgan, 6 Luke Wright, 7 Michael Yardy, 8 Tim Bresnan, 9 Graeme Swann, 10 Stuart Broad, 11 James Anderson.

Pitch and conditions

The Barbados pitch is the best in the Caribbean, with proper pace and bounce, and some grip for the spinners. It's the kind of pitch that should produce the best cricket, though batsmen should be wary after the low-scoring encounters on Wednesday.

Stats and trivia

  • After four games between the sides, Pakistan and England share the spoils 2-2.

  • Of players with more than 100 Twenty20 international runs, Eoin Morgan's average of 55.40 is the highest.

    Quotes

    "We're very thankful to have him."
    Andy Flower is relived Eoin Morgan is in his side after he twice revived England's total.

Sahil Dutta is assistant editor of Cricinfo

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Sahil Dutta Assistant editor Sahil Dutta grew up supporting England during the 90s. Despite this, he still enjoys the game. His unrequited passions for Graeme Hick and, in latter years, Vikram Solanki gave him a stoicism that guided him through an Economics degree and a stint working at the European Parliament. He maintains the purest love for Tests and the whims of legspin bowling and still harbours hope that he could be the answer to England's long search for a mystery spinner. As it is, his most exciting cricketing experience was planning a trip to Australia for the 2006-07 Ashes with two utterly indifferent friends. Unfortunately his lung collapsed shortly before his planned departure and the pair were left to wander around from Test to Test, unprepared and clueless. Any comparisons with England are far too obvious to make. That cancelled holiday inspired an Ashes blog which led, via some tea-making at the Wisden Cricketer, to the ESPNcricinfo towers.
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