Ed Hawkins previews the series decider from Old Trafford on Tuesday and says Pakistan are underrated...
"If they have to chase, so be it. With Babar and Rizwan consistent you may even be able to trade for a small green."
England v Pakistan
Tuesday 20 July 18.30
TV: Live on Sky Sports
The future looks bright for England's T20 team after they levelled the series against Pakistan at Headingley. But it was not necessarily the manner of the success, it was who achieved it.
Eoin Morgan decided to rest himself - he is striking at just 118 this year - and they looked so much stronger. Jos Buttler skippered the team allowing Moeen Ali to retain his spot and thrash away without a care at No 4. England are learning from Chennai Super Kings. And how about Liam Livingstone and Jonny Bairstow as finishers?
As predicted England paired Adil Rashid and Matt Parkinson as a spin duo. This could be a crucial pairing for the World T20 in the UAE. To think that Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer are yet to return for this lot.
For now, Lewis Gregory or David Willey will hope to come in to take Tom Curran's slot. England are likely to resist the temptation to give Tom Banton a hit with the series on the line.
Probable XI Buttler, Roy, Malan, Moeen, Livingstone, Bairstow, Gregory, Jordan, Rashid, Saqib, Parkinson
Pakistan could shuffle
As England recognised after game one, there is no disgrace in losing to a bristling power batting unit on a flat track. With that in mind, the tourists may try to lengthen their batting in anticipation of requiring a monster score.
Faheem Ashraf may be brought in for Haris Rauf. With Rauf expensive Pakistan wouldn't lose any control in the field and be boosted by Faheem's hitting. In an ideal world Hasan Ali would come in but he has a leg injury and is a doubt. Another option could be replacing Azam Khan with Sarfaraz Ahmed, swapping power for experience in the finishing role.
Being out-spun by England could smart Pakistan. Do they give Usman Qadir a turn to try to redress the balance? Pakistan would have been slightly disappointed not to have got closer to England's 200 after another strong start from Babar Rizwan and Mohammad Rizwan.
Probable XI Rizwan, Babar, Maqsood, Fakhar, Hafeez, Khan, Imad, Shadab, Faheem, Afridi, Hasnain
Pakistan let us down badly in game two when our bet for both teams to bust 180 went down with their second-innings flop. There's a lesson there. Why have essential two bets when you can have one? At skinnier odds, granted, we could have taken prices on England for 180 or mor or 190 or more.
Do we have another road at Manchester? Not so much. In seven matches this season in the Blast, 170 or more has been busted three times. Yorkshire managed only 128 at the venue on Saturday. The day before Lancashire had made 195 against Durham. Go figure.
If we increase the study period back to 2019, only three teams batting first have busted 170 or more in 11. Two of those, however, were by Pakistan with 190 and 195. They defended only the former.
Runs prices are unlikely to dip because of that scoring data. So there could be an advantage in going against the tide. If par is in the middling 180s we might go low. Sportsbook go 10/11 that both teams score 170, backing up the idea that the runs line will be high again.
In the same study period 11 of the last 17 have been won by the side batting first. That would suit this series with batting first an advantage.
Pakistan a bet
That trend for batting first at Old Trafford is important. We don't want to wager pre-toss and end up with our team drifting like a barge at the break.
However, sometimes it just pays not to get too bogged down in toss bias or what a pitch will or won't do. Just look at the odds and decide whether one team is underrated/overrated.
And that certainly seems to be the case about England, who are prohibitive at 1.528/15. Pakistan at 2.829/5 is their biggest price from the two games so far. Have they been that bad? Of course not. The talent gap between the two is no way near as big. We'll happily wager them.
If they have to chase, so be it. With Babar and Rizwan consistent you may even be able to trade for a small green.
When England and Pakistan clashed at this ground last summer, Mohammad Hafeez top scored twice. The 9/2 is not a rollicking-great price, though. Babar has been boosted to 9/4 by Sportsbook.
The firm have done likewise for Buttler, who goes off at 3/1. Moeen and Malan both enjoyed decent runs in the head-to-head last time. Mo goes off at 5/1 and Malan 7/2.
The Hundred Preview Part I on Cricket...Only Bettor
Ed Hawkins P-L
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. Includes Hawk-Eye column p-l