Imad Wasim had a good run in Caribbean Premier League 2016 © AFP (File Photo)
Imad Wasim had a good run in Caribbean Premier League 2016 © AFP (File Photo)

Pakistan are struggling in ODI series after a formidable display by Misbah-ul-Haq led side in Test series. Azhar Ali and his men are trailing in the five-match ODI series by 0-2 struggling to get going in limited overs format. The visitors will be facing England in the third ODI at Trent Bridge, Nottingham. The Pakistani side has not been able to give tough competition to England in the first two ODIs as the latter have won both games quite convincingly. With Mohammed Hafeez ruled out of the tournament due to calf injury, Mohammad Irfan has been called up in the side for the rest of the tour. This is a do or die situation for Pakistan as they need to win the third ODI in order to keep their hopes of winning the bilateral ODI series alive. Although, there might be a few changes expected in the side for today’s clash. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Pakistan vs England 2016, 3rd ODI at Trent Bridge

Top Order: Pakistan’s top order has been disappointing in the ODI series so far. Mohammad Hafeez’s bad form has been the main problem for the visitor during their tour in both ODIs and Tests. He managed to score just 102 runs in six innings in Tests and 11 in the first ODI. He has been ruled out of the side due to injury making way for Pakistan’s fast bowler Mohammad Irfan. Youngster Sami Aslam could not impress in the second ODI as he got out cheaply for a single off just 10 balls. Skipper Azhar Ali too performed well in the first ODI but got out for a duck in the second ODI.

Sharjeel Khan impressed everyone with his lightening-fast 150 against Ireland in the first ODI of Ireland tour but could not do much in the ODI series against England managing to score only 12 runs in two ODIs which includes a duck in the previous one. However, Aslam and Sharjeel are expected to open in the third ODI. Babar Azam too featured in the top order in first ODI and performed decently. Although, he could not convert the start he got into a big score. Sharjeel, Aslam and Azhar are expected to feature in tht top order today.

Pakistan top order need to tackle England opening bowlers Mark Wood and in-form bowler Chris Woakes who has been instrumental so far in both ODI and Test series. They need to survive the new ball as losing wickets early has had a major influence on the run-rate which has resulted into pressure on the middle and lower order batsmen.

Middle Order: The middle order has been performing well under pressure. Babar Azam has looked promising as he got good starts but could not convert them into half century or century. So far Pakistan’s star batsman has been Sarfraz Ahmed having scored one half-century and century. Sarfraz can be considered a future prospect for Pakistan as he has been performing reasonably well in recent tournaments. He single-handedly rescued Pakistan out of danger in second ODI when two of the top order batsmen departed for ducks.

Shoaib Malik has looked rusty in the series so far with scores of 17 and 28 in both ODIs. In order to retain a place in the side he has to perform better in the forthcoming matches. On the other hand Imad Wasim impressed everyone with his half-century in second ODIs sharing a crucial 77-run partnership with Sarfraz. Imad also took 2 wickets later in the innings. He has been performing well in different formats. He had a good run in Caribbean Premier League 2016 (CPL) as well and looks in good form both with bat and ball on English pitch conditions.

Lower Order: Pakistan’s lower order was tested in second ODI and failed miserably. Imad Wasim looked helpless on the other side as wickets kept falling at the other end. Hasan Ali and Yasir Shah got out for ducks while Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Aamer could only score 6 runs each. A batting collapse is the last thing Pakistan want as their top order is not performing and the middle order need support from lower order as well.

However, Yasir Shah’s place in the side looks dicey as Mohammad Irfan makes a comeback in the side. Riaz needs to put more pressure on England’s side and there is a chance that he might not be included. Umar Gul might take his place in the side who did good in Ireland upon his return to International cricket. Gul can also hit a few ball down the order when a cameo is needed. Aamer has been decent throughout the tour but his performance cannot be categorised as exceptional. He still has three ODIs left to improve his record in the series.

Look what youngster Imad Wasim has to say before the third ODI

“With the talent we’ve got, I don’t think it’s a number nine team. We have to show that in big matches like tomorrow. I believe we can come back. We have to work hard, trust ourselves and show our skills in front of the cameras. He’s a great cricketer, a genuine all-rounder and one of the best (in the world). When Ben Stokes is fit to bowl, England are definitely even stronger. But if we get ourselves right, we’re going to give them a tough time. It’s just cricket, and it can happen to any team. We’re ready, up for it. Whatever is gone is gone – it’s done. We have to get some runs on the board, and give our bowlers a chance,” Imad Wasim told AFP.

Pakistan’s Likely XI:

Sami Aslam, Sharjeel Khan, Azhar Ali (c), Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Shoaib Malik, Imad Wasim, Hasan Ali, Umar Gul, Mohammad Aamer, Mohammad Irfan

(Arun Rawal, a reporter with CricketCountry, is a daydreamer, movie buff, and cricket fanatic. He could not play cricket, so did the next best thing, writing for it. He loves to play the flick shot over square leg, and believes Sachin Tendulkar is God. His Twitter handle is @ArunRawal93)