England v Pakistan
Live on BBC
Jason Roy picked the wrong time to get injured. Tom Banton, seizing his chance, looks to have cemented his position in this T20 team for some time with a blistering 71 that lit up the gloom at Old Trafford on Friday.
He hit five sixes and four fours in a dominant display meaning England found the washout very useful indeed. We note Moeen's use ahead of Billings from our probable XI suggesting that after Malan England are prepared to be fluid with their order dependant on game situation.
Probable XI Bairstow, Banton, Malan, Morgan, Billings, Moeen, Gregory, Jordan, Willey, Rashid, Mahmood
Before the rain came and ended proceedings with 21 balls left, Pakistan looked likely to chase around the 165 mark. Was that the sort of total they would have been happy with after winning the toss? One suspects not as with a couple of lusty blows from England's lower order they could have been looking at 170.
The decision to bowl first seemed to be purely about overcast skies. It's not a Test, though, is it? And they are using a white ball. Get runs on the board and squeeze England with spin, Pakistan! They know this as otherwise why would they open with Imad Wasim, who took two wickets.
It was particularly peculiar because if they were reckoning the likes of Mohammad Amir and Shaeen Shah Afridi would get swing, surely they would have been better served under lights? Or at least equally as dangerous?
Possible XI Babar, Fakhar, Hafeez, Shoaib, Iftikhar, Imad, Rizwan, Shadab, Afridi, Amir, Rauf.
2019 England 175-3 (Morgan 57*, Imad 1-24) chased Pakistan 173-6 (Babar 65, T Curran 1-23)
2016 Pakistan 139-1 chased England 135-7 (Wahab 3-18)
Overall England 11 Pakistan 4
There have been seven T20 international at Old Trafford, the first 12 years ago, but only five produced results. Four were won by the chaser. The last three first-innings scores (starting in 2015 with 1-2 denoting match won by side batting first or second) read: 159-2/135-2/191-1. Of more importance might be the last ten domestic totals at the venue: 142-2/162-1/151-1/130-2/189-1/185-1/154-1/190-2/176-1/157-1. From those numbers around 8.7 an over should be the target for the side batting first.
The good news is that there is no rain forecast after the washout in game one. Forecasters currently predict a 4% chance of rain throughout.
Pakistan only worth it defending
England have drifted to 1.695/7 from 1.608/13 as the reality of the strengths of the two XIs has dawned. Seeing is believing I guess. Still, Pakistan didn't play to their strengths hen winning the toss and bowling first and that is a major consideration at 2.427/5.
Pakistan have won only six times (25%) in the last three years (24 matches) when bowling first. But when they bat first they have five wins (38.5%) in 13.
Their all-time record in a chase of 165-185, a bracket it is reasonable to assume England would have achieved in the game status before the rain, is six wins from 12. Now in terms of odds that would make them an even money shot but we're not sure such a high score was the idea.
How do England fare in that bracket? They have five wins from 25. So it should be basic thinking for Pakistan to bat and then use their excellent spinners.
As discussed on Cricket...Only Bettor (below), Babar Azam at 17/10 and Dawid Malan at 4/1 (both Sportsbook) feature as two of the most reliable T20 batters.
Babar has been cut from 2/1, which is a shame considering he didn't even get the chance to bat. Malan looked in decent nick but Banton's fast start meant he was always playing the anchor role.
Brilliant Babar and marvellous Malan? This week on Cricket...Only Bettor