Favorites England take on Unpredictable Pakistan at Sophia Gardens

Preview

England, one of the top favorites to win the tournament take on the Men in green from Pakistan in the first Semi-Final clash at Cardiff on Wednesday.

England

The tournament host England have defied the expectation & played like one of the favorites. In fact, they are the only side to remain undefeated in the tournament. England has been consistent throughout the group stages both with bat & ball and they are the red hot favorites going into the semi final. England have stick on to the winning combination and a possible change in playing XI is expected.

Roy set to be dropped

The only issue for England is that the form of opener Jason Roy. Jason Roy is a type of player who can decimate the opposition once he keeps going but unfortunately he has never got that form back. The opener has scored 51 runs in his past eight one day internationals. England are set to drop Roy and Jonny Bairstow lined up as his replacement.

Morgan on Baristow, ” Jonn is our next man in line. He is a very fine batsman. One thing he does exceptionally well is deal with no baggage. He comes in and wants to prove wrong everyone the whole time. It has been a huge attribute in him scoring runs when he has had a chance”.

Key players

Ben Stokes is the man for England in this tournament. He has scored 150 runs in 2 group stage matches including a match winning century against their arch rivals Australia. He has also taken 3 wickets from 3 matches played so far. Pakistan should be aware of the danger possessed by stokes.

Joe Root, Eoin Morgan & Alex Hales have all scored bunch of runs and possess quite a threat to Pakistan. As for as England’s bowling is concern in Mark wood, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid & Jake Ball they have a strong bowling unit to bundle out the opposition. Between them they have 22 wickets at an economy of 4.80.

Alex Hales
Joe Root
Eoin Morgan
Ben Stokes
Liam Plunkett
Mark Wood

Pakistan

Pakistan have always been a dark horse in the ICC Tournaments. They have recovered strongly after their 124 runs loss against arch-rivals India. They had defeated the No.1 world ranked team in South Africa by 19 runs(D/L method) thanks to the rain interruption. They have crossed the line against sri lanka by 3 wickets to set up clash with England

Fakhar Zaman

Opener Fakhar Zaman has been crucial for the Pakistan’s change of fortunes. The Pakistani opener have batted in a positive manner and created a platform for the middle-orders to set up the chase. His scores of 41 & 50 have beautifully set up Pakistani win contrast to Ahmed Shehzad who has dropped after scoring 12 against India.

Fearsome Bowling

Hasan Ali has been a major threat to the opposition scalping 7 wickets in 3 matches played so far. With the likes of Mohammad Amir & Junaid Khan who have taken 7 wickets between them at an economy of 4.75 they have controlled the ability of opposition to score freely. The spin-duo of Imad Wasim & Mohammad Hafeez have chipped in with crucial wickets in the middle overs.

Key players

Hasan Ali will be the trump card for Pakistan. Pakistan will be hoping Hasan Ali to provide the crucial breakthrough like he did it in earlier matches. Fakhar Zaman & Shoaib Malik are the other two key factors if Pakistan have to trump England.

Fakhar Zaman
Babar Azam
Shoaib Malik
Hasan Ali
Mohammad Amir
Junaid Khan

Possible Lineups

England

  1. Jonny Bairstow, 2. Alex Hales, 3. Joe Root, 4. Eoin Morgan, 5. Ben Stokes, 6. Jos Buttler,  7. Moeen Ali, 8. Adil Rashid, 9. Liam Plunkett, 10. Jake Ball, 10. Mark Wood

Pakistan

1. Azhar Ali, 2. Fakhar Zaman, 3. Babar Azam, 4. Shoiab Malik, 5. Mohammad Hafeez    6. Sarfraz Ahmed, 7. Imad Wasim, 8. Fakim Ashraf, 9.Mohammad Amir, 10. Junaid Khan, 11. Hasan Ali

Conclusion – Advantage England

England will start this match as a favorite as they have the crucial advantage in running between the wickets and fielding.

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Review – Melbourne Stars vs Adelaide Strikers

Melbourne Stars vs Adelaide Strikers

striker

Melbourne Stars hosted Adelaide strikers at MCG in what was a crucial match for both sides aiming to qualify for the finals.

Team News 

Melbourne Stars have missed Maxwell, Adam Zampa & James Faulkner to the national duty and their replacement were Peter Handscomb who returned from national side, Gulbis and Liam Bowe.

Strikers too had lost some player like Travis Head and Stanlake while Chris Jordon missed the game due to injury. The replacement were fan favourite Tim Ludeman, Wes Agar and New Zealand leggy Ish Sodhi.

Adelaide Innings

David Hussey won the toss and opted to bowl first. The opening pair of Jack Weatherald and Ben Dunk started the innings positively. They got of to a reasonable start but could not continue the momentum as Weatherlad was one of the many victim’s picked by Scot Boland. Ben Ludeman joined Dunk and carried the innings forward. The young bowler Bowe picked the prize scalp of Dunk. In came, Striker’s captain Hodge but he too did not lost long as he fell for mere 17 runs as he was clean bowled by Boland.

The Next person to go was Ludeman who tried hitting  Boland for a maximum but endedup caught by Quiney. The big West Indian Kieran Pollard, known for his hard hitting fell cheaply for 16 runs as Adelaide strikers got 152 in the end. Scot Boland was the star men as he picked 4 for 30.

Melbourne Innings

Quiney and Wright went out to chase what was an easy target. Wright fell cheaply in the 4th over. One of clever move made by Hodge bringing Ben Dunk to bowl as a second choicebowler. The move paid off as he removes Wright. Next up was Quiney who has made quick-fire 41 of 17 balls. Pietersen and Handscomb tried to steady the innings but Handscomb was bowled by a beauty of delivery by Ish Sodhi.

sodhi

Stonis and Hussey fell cheaply as Stars have lost half of the side for 84 runs. It was left to in-form Pietersen to finish the game but a untimely run-out saw stars lose Pietersen. As the momentum shift in favour of strikers it was Gulbis and Big Ben who rescued Stars by a unlikely parternship of 37 runs stand for 7th wicket which swung the match in favour of stars.

ben

In the end, Big Ben finished the game off  with an unbeaten score of 32 runs that saw Melbourne Stars won by 2 wickets with 3 ball remaining.

Standings

bbl-table

What’s Next

Striker’s will face Melbourne Renegades on Jan 16 at Home while Stars face Perth Scorchers at WACA.

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