England v Pakistan
Sunday 19 May, 11:00
TV: live on Sky Sports
England keep on rolling. Despite obvious, glaring problems with their bowling, it just doesn't seem to matter when they have the best ODI batting attack ever. Despite being without Jonny Bairstow and Eoin Morgan, they knocked off the required 341 at Trent Bridge on Frida. They even overcame a significant wobble.
A collapse from 201 for one to 258 for six tested the mettle of their middle- and lower-order. They passed with flying colours thanks to a fine unbeaten 71 from Ben Stokes and Tom Curran's 31 from 30. Earlier a century from Jason Roy and contributions from James Vince and Joe Root appeared to make the chase a formality.
It is even possible we're being a little harsh on the bowling. Pakistan, perhaps, should have threatened 400 at one stage or at least 380. But they never really trounced England in the field. This was down to Jofra Archer checking them at a key time with the wicket of Asif Ali.
With Curran taking four wickets, Woakes doing the same previously and David Willey being tight at the death in the series, it was a bad day for Liam Plunkett. He could be in danger of missing out for the final cut on World Cup selection.
Roy is likely to be rested for this game with his infant daughter unwell. That means Bairstow could come back in to open with Vince. Joe Root may also step aside with Morgan expected to come back to skipper.
Imam ruled out
Pakistan are probably unfussed by the result. All they are worried about is the health of Imam-ul-Haq's elbow. The classy opener suffered a sickening blow from a Mark Wood lifter and when he retired hurt his World Cup hopes – and Pakistan's – seemed to go with him.
Bu an x-ray is said to have revealed only bruising. Although that will keep him out for a time – certainly he won't play in the final rubber – he should be fit for the majority of the World Cup. In his absence Fakhar Zaman, who is just as important, blazed away for a half-century while Babar Azam managed his first big contribution of the series.
Babar stroked 115 but it is a measure of England's power with the bat that, perhaps, it just wasn't quick enough to take them on. Babar could well be promoted to open with Imam out. Haris Sohail may come back in.
With the ball, Mohammad Hasnain looked a prospect and he will get another run out. Shadab Khan, the spinner, is also in the frame. Hasan Ali might benefit from a rest with Faheem Asharaf coming back.
There have been only ten ODIs played at Headingley since 2006. The average first-innings score in those matches is 295. More than 300 has been breached four times and the lowest score was Pakistan's 247 in 2016. England's 275 for 4 against South Africa in 2008 is the second-lowest. Last summer India made a below-par 256 and were thumped. The previous summer England made 339 for six and beat South Africa by 72 runs. We would expect both teams to bust 320 first up, particularly as the sun is up and out.
England providing great in-running option
Some good news on the match odds markets in-running this summer. The market is not treating England quite with the respect their superb chasing record – which is creeping up towards 90% in the last two years – deserves. Odds-against were once more available after Pakistan had gone big, but not big enough.
We're sure, against this Pakistan attack at least, that even 400 isn't safe with England on a good batting track. And there will be decent numbers available about the hosts going after such a total. But, again, we're not convinced about England's ability to defend.
If you think numbers about England in a chase are big then Pakistan will be something else. Their chasing ability is reduced with Imam being out but we'd be happy to be betting them to get up and after no more than 330.
Don't be wooed by Root
Stokes had a top-bat effort to his name on this ground against Pakistan in 2016. He is in great nick but after a rescue act in Nottingham that shouldn't mean he's cut to lower than 5s. Root scored a century against India on his home ground but 10/1 will not get us involved. He's 6/1 and rising on true form for top bat. Pakistan's top-bat market will be in a state of change. Babar will retain favourite status and possibly take a chunky cut. But Fakhar remains to man to follow with a superior record.
Sportnation 100% Bonus
100% bonus up to £50
- New 100% Deposit Bonus up to £50
- Use CODE: SN50NEW
- Deposit Minimum of £10.
- Enjoy SportNation Rewards