Cricket World Cup Preview – England v Pakistan

Eoin Morgan lost the toss, Jonny Bairstow was out first ball and their talisman Jos Buttler had a poor game by his own high standards. But the alarming thing for the other nations is that England still, ultimately, thrashed South Africa – ranked 3 in the world at the 50-over game remember – in the opening game of the 2019 ICC World Cup at the Oval on Thursday.

It was hard not to be impressed with the hosts who were trimmed from 15/8 to 7/4 with BetVictor to win the tournament ahead of their second game with Pakistan at Trent Bridge Nottingham on Monday.

There is no rain forecast for the East Midlands and it is hard to see how Pakistan can overturn their recent 4-0 drubbing at the hands of England in what was a high-scoring series. That said Pakistan did play very well at Trent Bridge last month when they posted a total of 340 which England successfully chased with just three balls and three wickets to spare.

Pakistan were hammered by a confident West Indies side in Game 2 of the tournament on Friday and England and Jofra Archer – outstanding against the Proteas – will have noticed how poorly the Pakistani top-order coped with what was a barrage of short pitched bowling from the West Indian quicks.

England are ¼ (from 2/7) at BetVictor to make it two out of two in the round-robin series with Pakistan 11/4. Pakistan have lost their last 10 ODI’s and confidence can’t be particularly high. The opposite can be said of the hosts and Bairstow will be desperate to get the middle of the bat on the ball at Trent Bridge after his “golden duck” at the Oval.

Mohammed Amir claimed three Windies wickets on Friday, but the result was never in doubt. Pakistan – 27/10 with BetVictor – must roll their sleeves up and come out fighting against England after what was a chastening and embarrassing loss.

Defeat won’t mean an end to their prospects of making the semi-finals, but they need to produce a much-improved display to give them confidence for the challenges to come even if they can’t buck their current losing trend against the favourites.

Bairstow is 10/3 to top score for the hosts and he is far too good a player to miss out for long. Fakhar Zaman is 7/2 with BetVictor to be the top Pakistani batsman and he showed enough in the recent ODI series to suggest that might be the value.

Charlie’s Recommendations:

Jonny Bairstow top England run scorer at 10/3

Fakhar Zaman top Pakistani runscorer at 7/2

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