Azhar Ali's men are fully aware of the fact, that 4-0 could well become 5-0 © Getty Images
Azhar Ali’s men are fully aware of the fact, that 4-0 could well become 5-0 © Getty Images

Pakistan will walk out at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff for the last time in the ODI series to play England, in the fifth and final ODI in what has been a one-sided series. Azhar Ali’s men are fully aware of the fact, that 4-0 could well become 5-0, if they turn out and exhibit the same old-fashioned brand of cricket, that has kept them at the ninth position in the ICC ODI team rankings. But what will be interesting to see will be the kind of approach they come with. Do they have it in themselves to at least end the series on a high, put aside whatever has happened. While the most anticipated clash will be between England’s ruthlessness and Pakistan’s nothing-to-lose mantra perhaps, here are some other key battles that are expected to unfold. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Pakistan vs England, 5th ODI at Cardiff

England vs History: England, have given themselves a great chance to hand a 5-0 thrashing series defeat to Pakistan. If they win, the next game at Cardiff, it will be England’s first whitewash in one-day (ODI) series, at home. And if former England captain Mike Atherton’s words are to be believed, they look well set to do that. READ: Pakistan vs England, 5th ODI at Cardiff: Likely XI for Azhar Ali and co.

“They look well motivated to deliver a whitewash and you wouldn’t put it past them,” he said as quoted by Skysports. I think it’s a team aim to go through this summer unbeaten in one-day cricket and they’ve got a great chance to do so now because this series has gone for Pakistan, who look pretty demoralised,” he added. England truly, look well on course do achieve the feat.

Pakistan vs Themselves: Pakistan have never been at their best in the series so far. It almost looks as if, they have not evolved themselves completely in a format that has evolved at a fast pace. The talent in the side has not transformed into runs and performances (both individual and team) have not been resulted in wins. READ: Pakistan vs England, 5th ODI at Cardiff: Visitors play for much more than consolation

When Mickey Arthur said, “I hate the phrase, but we are number nine in the world and we can see why,” it was evident, for all to see, that Pakistan have a lot of work to do. Arthur added, “It’s been an eye-opener for for me, the last four games.” And now with the series coming to an end, if they can somehow step-up, put in a team performance but most of all – play fearless cricket – they will have something to take from a poorly-contested series.

Same-old-script vs Something new: England’s comeback to become a top ODI side, while Pakistan struggle to string in a pleasing performance has kept this series stuck with a boring storyline. Pakistan’s failure to capitalise with the bat, their bowlers’ plight to contain England’s batsmen and their captain’s inadequacy of strategies has been all too evident throughout the series. Now with one ODI left, fans, would be hoping that there is a different climax, different characters and the underdogs coming out on top. At least, to give a tough fight.

Imad Wasim vs Ben Stokes: A spectacular talent to watch out for the future, Imad Wasim, has played the role of a bowling all-rounder perfectly for Pakistan. He has contributed with runs when his team has looked down and out. Often his fifties have rescued his side from tough situations. His bowling though, has not been as good. He will surely want to improve.

Ben Stokes, on the other hand, plays the same role for England. He has earned Morgan’s confidence over the years. His half-century in the last ODI, consisted of six fours and two sixes, before he was picked up by Wasim. Therefore, a tough competition awaits between the two all-rounders.

(Karan Dewana reporter with CricketCountry, loves following and playing sports. He is a Team India fan and loves winning. Follow him on his twitter handle @karan13dewan)