Will Rhodes will England setup against Pakistan in © Getty Images
Will Rhodes will lead England setup against Pakistan in ICC Under-19 World Cup 2014 semi-final game at Dubai © Getty Images


By Nishad Pai Vaidya


Dubai: Feb 23, 2014


Having knocked out the defending champions India, England will be a confident unit when they take on Pakistan in the ICC Under-19 World Cup 2014 semi-final at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. The two teams will clash on Monday and it would be a day-night encounter, with the afternoon start. One wonders, whether the shift in timing would have any effect on the playing conditions as it does get cold at night in Dubai at this time of the year, increasing the possibility of dew.


England overcame a major test when they beat India, as they dealt with the spinners very well. Ben Duckett was very impressive and stunned the Indians by taking the power-play early. That put India on the back-foot and is proof of England’s attacking intent. While Duckett was the star, they do have others such as Jonathan Tattersall, who started off very well against India but couldn’t carry on. Ed Barnard seems to be one player with a solid technique and could be someone who would hold the batting. Lower down the order, wicketkeeper Joe Clarke is a stable batsman and someone who is more of a finisher.


Now, the bowlers had a brilliant time against India. Matthew Fisher was on the money, as he pitched it up and got the players to poke at deliveries outside the off-stump. Jack Winslade is fast and bowls back of a length. He can get some bounce off the surface and trouble the Pakistan batsmen.


If one has to pick a few contests to look forward to, then one would say that the Pakistan openers are up against an inspired English pace attack. Skipper Sami Aslam and his opening partner, Imam-ul-Haq put up a good partnership in the quarter-final, but facing the English seamers may not be the easiest task for them. The first ten overs of the Pakistan innings would be interesting as the batsmen with attacking instincts may want to go after the bowling. Even Pakistan’s No 3, Kamran Ghulam had a good outing in the last game.


Also, Duckett and company would be up against a pair of left-arm spinners this time. Zafar Gohar is partnered by Ghulam in their quest to spin England out of the competition. Plus, there is the leg-spinner Karamat Ali. But, they would be wary of England’s tactics, and would look to seize the upper-hand eaely on in the match. Will Pakistan drop the extra spinner and bring in a fast-bowler for this game? Apart from that, Pakistan continue to have good fast bowlers in Zia-ul-Haq and Amad Butt.


England skipper, Will Rhodes said that they are up for the challenge. “Pakistan will be a great opposition. We have played them a few times, so we know what they have to offer. We just have to go in with the same intent with the bat, bowl and the field and I am sure we will get a positive result.”


Duckett said after their win over India, “I can’t wait to be honest. We’ve played them (Pakistan) and lost to them a few times. We’ve deserved to get this far, but I think 6-7 months ago we were only expected to get to the semi-finals. We played Pakistan in the summer and we lost to them. But, I think we are a different side. We are a very good team. I don’t think we have clicked as a team here. We are in the semi-final and if we click, it could be fairly positive.”




England: Will Rhodes (c), Jonathan Tattersall, Harry Finch, Ryan Higgins, Ben Duckett, Ed Barnard, Joe Clarke (wk), Robert Jones, Rob Sayer, Jake Winslade, Matthew Fisher, Dominic Sibley, Miles Hammond, Josh Shaw, Luke Wood, Dominic Sibley.


Pakistan: Sami Aslam (c), Imam-ul-Haq, Kamran Ghulam, Hasan Raza, Zafar Gohar, Amad Butt, Saifullah Khan (wk), Zia-ul-Haq, Ameer Hamza, Karamat Ali, Saud Shakeel, Imran Rafiq, Irfanullah Shaikh, Mohammad Aftab, Mohammad Umair.


Time: 13:30 IST | 08:00 GMT


(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)