England v Pakistan: Confident England have too much for dispirited Pakistan

Jason Roy and Konny Bairstow England openers
Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow have been breaking records as England's opening pair

The England World Cup bandwagon is off and running. James Buttler isn't expecting a beleaguered Pakistan side to slow it down on Monday...

"The team in green haven't got the legendary Imran Khan to lead them back from the brink this time - he's too busy running the country now."

England v Pakistan
Monday June 3, 10:30
Live on Sky Sports Cricket and Sky Sports Main Event

Opening banana skin avoided as England show the have fight

England overcame the pressure of their opening match at a World Cup on home soil that they know they can win. They will be stronger for the experience of coming up against a decent South African side that provided a stern test. That Eoin Morgan's team still came out 104-run victors shows how strong his side are.

After losing Jonny Bairstow to the fourth ball of their innings, England sides of old would have been riddled with self doubt and fallen apart. Morgan's England are made of stronger stuff and after a Jason Roy and Joe Root rebuilding act it was the skipper's successive sixes that screamed "we are not here to play second fiddle".

A final total of 311 was described by some as modest at the break, but it was a good effort on a track that wasn't the road to runs we've become used to in England of late.

Go back a few years, before England raised the bar, and 300-plus was a superb effort. An excellent fielding display, led by Ben Stokes' ridiculous one-handed grab on the boundary, steadily squashed any hopes the Proteas had of upsetting the hosts. Stokes looks back to his best, his runs were vital too, and that is excellent news for England backers.

ben stokes smiling 1280x720.jpg

Opening defeat for Pakistan side riddled with doubt

Pakistan's humiliating defeat to West Indies on Friday was their 11th straight loss in ODI cricket. Losing by seven wickets with a massive 218 balls still left to play at Trent Bridge will have hurt the squad and their proud fans. It feels like a long way back for them, but it's a long tournament.

A couple of good points in Nottingham was an aggressive spell from Mohammad Amir (3-26) who hasn't been in prime form over the last year. But it was in-your-face West Indian fast bowling and poor shot selection that did for them. Sarfraz Ahmned's side were the architects of their own downfall in many ways and it will take serious soul searching for them to bounce back.

Pakistan can only be better against England at the same ground on Monday and they did run England close in their recent 4-0 series defeat. Some of the games were close affairs, but it will require a huge improvement if Pakistan are to reverse the form book on Monday. When they won the 1992 World Cup they had an atrocious start to the competition. The team in green haven't got the legendary Imran Khan to lead them back from the brink this time - he's too busy running the country now.

Can Pakistan cause an upset?

The answer has to be 'no' surely. England are confident, know how to win and have a plan that is working. Pakistan are on a losing streak and under pressure. A large Pakistan support will be at Trent Bridge again for this one and a proud nation expects. Huge support can be the proverbial 12th Man but also amplify the demon inside heads. If England push the door open early all of the doubts will come flooding back.

England are very short to win this game at 1.282/7 and it's hard to argue with the price. Trent Bridge has provided huge totals in recent years and Pakistan's last match there was a blip. If England bat first they can certainly go big again, so I am inclined to take England to win and hit the most sixes to get a little more value at 10/11 on Sportsbook.

Bat will win World Cup but ball is also key

In the Betfair preview I suggested that, on some wickets, hauling out a bowling machine to save the bowlers blushes might be an easier way of playing out some of these World Cup run fests. Early signs are that the pitches have a little bit there for the fielding sides and the short ball caused serious discomfort to the Pakistan batsmen in their first game. England could introduce Mark Wood to combine with Jofra Archer to stick it up their opponents noses after Pakistan showed serious frailty.

Archer has been a superb addition to the England side. He has plenty of big stage experience after playing in the Indian Premier League and Big Bash, but the hype around his international introduction has not unsettled him. With his pace he can cause Pakistan problems and the price of 11/4 for him to take the most wickets for England is a good one.


And don't get put off going big on the first innings total if England bat first. I will be interested to see if the Exchange reacts to Pakistan's low score and England's 311. Pre-tournament people were suggesting 500-plus at Trent Bridge and a big score there is still very likely. Go 400-plus if the Exchange market provides value.

Openers the play in runs market

England have the fastest scoring openers in the competition. Jonny Bairstow fell for an early duck against South Africa and will be keen to open his World Cup account. Jason Roy and Joe Root notched a fifty apiece and I'm looking at England's top three to provide the highest run scorer on Monday.

In many ways Pakistan's defeat to West Indian short-pitched bowling may help England, if Pakistan try the same tactic. I'm taking Bairstow to top score at 11/4 and I'm also very tempted by England to have the highest opening partnership at 8/13.

Pakistan trio have to fire

Both Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam made starts against West Indies but both fell for 22. Imam ul-Haq went cheaply. If Pakistan are to get anything from this game one of this trio has to go big. Babar Azam scored 115 at Trent Bridge in the recent series against England and leads the market at 11/4, but my pick is Fakhar Zaman. The combative opener averages 50 in ODIs and isn't afraid to have a swing - he's 7/2.

Man of the Match Markets

If England win, as I think they will, you are looking for a player in light blue in this market. Take three at half-stakes to give yourself a fun bet to last throughout the match. My trio who can make a real impact in this game are Jason Roy 9/1, Jonny Bairstow 9/1 and Jofra Archer at 10/1.


Follow James on Twitter @cricket_badger

James Buttler at CWC19

Units Staked 6.5
Units Returned 13.75
Profit/Loss: +7.25 units

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