LEEDS, United Kingdom: Having already conceded the five-match series, Pakistan will be looking to conclude their World Cup preparations on a winning-note when they face England in the final One-day International (ODI) at Headingley today
Pakistan must be wondering what they need to do different to get over the line. In all three completed matches, they have posted scores over 300, only to be outdone by England each time.
Their batting looks strong, but their bowling can do a bit better, even given the fact that the pitches so far have had plenty of assistance for batters. With high-scoring games expected in the World Cup, their bowling unit needs to step up, as does the fielding department.
Mohammad Hasnain gave glimpses of his potential in an otherwise expensive outing at Trent Bridge, while Hasan Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Junaid Khan and Shaheen Shah Afridi have managed six wickets between them, with economy rates between 7.01 and 8.15.
One of Pakistan’s biggest positives in the series has been their openers’ terrific form.
Fakhar Zaman hit a brilliant hundred in the second match and scored an attacking fifty at Trent Bridge on Thursday. His partner Imam-ul-Haq is the leading run-scorer for them with 234 runs in four matches, and has the highest average (117) among all batsmen in the series.
Imam was hurt by a Mark Wood bouncer, but he is expected to put that behind and keep batting.
Meanwhile, England will be keen to maintain their unbeaten record. They have now won five of their last seven completed ODIs.
On Friday, Ben Stokes’s unbeaten 71 rescued them from a top-order collapse and helped the hosts to a narrow three-wicket win.
England were cruising to a target of 341 at 201 for one when Jason Roy’s dismissal for 114 sparked a collapse that saw three wickets lost for seven runs in 10 balls.
And when Moeen Ali was out for a duck, England were 216 for five.
But Stokes steadied the ship and with No 8 Tom Curran (31) got England back on track in a stand of 61.
Curran, pushing for a place in England’s final 15-man World Cup squad, had already taken four for 75 in Pakistan’s 340 for seven.
After the match, Pakistan captain Safraz Ahmed was left lamenting his side’s sloppy fielding.
“It was definitely tough luck for us after we put runs on the board,” he said. “But unfortunately our bowling execution was not up to the mark and we didn’t field well.”
This was a modest score at Trent Bridge, where England have twice set the record for the highest ODI total, with last year’s 481 for six against Australia following their 444 for three against Pakistan in 2016.