England vs. Pakistan – Champions Trophy preview

So now we get to the real nitty gritty of the tournament. England have looked imperious during the qualifying stages of the Champions Trophy and as a bonus, instead of being drawn against a high quality South African side, they instead face the unpredictable enigma that is Pakistan. Seriously it is impossible to predict what Pakistan will actually turn up in Cardiff, will it be the one that bowled so well against South Africa or the meek side that got hammered by India, there’s just no point in trying to guess. One thing that Pakistan will need to do to be competitive is improve on their batting dramatically from the past 3 games, as they haven’t anywhere near threatened a score of 300 in the tournament so far and have seemed to take the old England approach of having one aggressive opener and a number of accumulators in the middle order to try and get them to a decent score before they open their shoulders in the last 10 overs. We have seen from past painful experiences with England that this really isn’t a formula for success in the ODI arena, so one would hope that Pakistan will throw off the shackles with their batting tomorrow. We shall see.

As for England, it’s more of the same please, but with one exception; that being that poor old Jason Roy looks like he has finally been dropped from the team tomorrow (it was reported that Bairstow netted today and Roy didn’t, which seems about the biggest hint possible). It’s hard not to feel some sympathy with Roy as he has been an integral part of the white ball set up under Bayliss & Morgan and I do think his presence at the top of the order allows Hales a bit of time to settle into the game; however sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind. Roy has just happened to fall into one of the worst trots of form in his England career at the worst possible time; his head looks scrambled and his technique looks all over the place, that coupled with a reserve batsman in prime form waiting in the wings meant that a change was going to be inevitable. There had been talk from Morgan about backing Roy for the whole tournament but I would guess the manner of his dismissals added to the fact that this is a tournament that Director Comma really needs to win to lend credibility to his white ball focus, meant that Roy is now in the firing line. Some may point to the fact that Roy didn’t do himself any favours by sitting on the bench throughout the IPL and I agree that could have possibly been a factor; however young HH has been playing county cricket all season and has a top score of 38, in my opinion, sometimes you are just out of nick irrelevant of circumstances. I’d be shocked if there were any further changes for England, despite Ball not exactly pulling up trees with his bowling. The one thing that could be interesting tomorrow is that this pitch in Cardiff will have been used three times before the game, hence don’t be surprised if it’s a bit two paced and conducive to spin. 300 might not be the par score everyone is expecting  and hence the team batting first will quickly need to assess conditions especially if par is around 275. Misjudge that and 215 all out could beckon.

Then of course, we come to the ticket farce, with as much blame storming flying around as a Tory cabinet meeting. Our good friend shiny toy has naturally waded into the debate now that he has stopped advising everyone on how to deal with the threat of global terror, and naturally he starts off with blaming the fans for not attending:

https://twitter.com/5liveSport/status/874525506468696064

https://twitter.com/MichaelVaughan/status/874542158178639877

The fact that Vaughan has used the ticket price as justification for the fans not attending again shows that he is on a different planet to everyone else. So to make it easy for Shiny Toy and #39 to understand, I’ve carefully explained things below:

  1. Many matches are on a weekday and guess what people have to work or look after children, if only it was that easy to drop all commitments for a jolly at the cricket then we’d all be there.
  2. There are very few £30 tickets with the majority being in the £40-£60 bracket. When you factor in travel and food costs you’re probably around £80 lighter at least. In case you hadn’t noticed the economy isn’t exactly in tiptop condition at the moment and many can’t afford the outlay.
  3. Stop holding tournament matches in Wales, give it to Lancs or Yorks if you want bigger crowds to come. The Swalec is a lovely ground and really central but if the surrounding communities are a bit meh about cricket (since they can’t watch it on TV), then why expect people in their droves to turn up to Bangladesh vs. New Zealand.

Anyway rant over on that score, if you are in the Wales vicinity tomorrow there is a good chance of getting a ticket to the game as around 38% of available tickets were bought by Indian fans hedging their bets that have since decided to return their tickets. Hasten to say, it would not surprise me one bit if there are plenty of empty seats at the game tomorrow, however I’m not going to even start on the ICC ticketing procedures….

In other news, there’s also been the announcement of the T20 squad to face South Africa after the Champions trophy with five new debutants in the squad for the three games. It would be nice to see Malan given a go as he has been supremely consistent over the past two years, Liam Livingstone looks like he could be something special and it would be also interesting to have a proper look at Mason Crane, who despite having limited playing time for the Bransgrove lot at the start of the season, still looks a fine prospect. Will anyone actually care about the series after the glut of white ball cricket well that is another matter completely.

Lastly, England have announced the England Lions squad for the one off 4 day game against South Africa A, I wonder if you can spot where England’s focus might be? Anyone else would’ve laughed if they’d included Chef as well?? 

England Lions squad: Keaton Jennings (Durham, capt), Mark Stoneman (Surrey), Haseeb Hameed (Lancashire), Nick Gubbins (Middlesex), Dan Lawrence (Essex), Ben Foakes (Surrey, wk), Sam Curran (Surrey), Jamie Overton (Somerset), Tom Helm (Middlesex), Jamie Porter (Essex), George Garton (Sussex), Jack Leach (Somerset), Dominic Bess (Somerset).

Anyway thoughts on the game and anything else below:

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34 thoughts on “England vs. Pakistan – Champions Trophy preview

  1. Miami Dad's Six June 13, 2017 / 8:33 pm

    It’s a slower, stickier pitch than Edgbaston so I’d back the Pakistani quicks to get it to reverse. Their batting line up is the weakest in the tournament but Amir, Junaid and particularly Hasan Ali squeezed South Africa and Sri Lanka to mediocre totals. Think their best chance is bowling first and bowling England out.

    Like

    • Sean B June 13, 2017 / 9:03 pm

      Hi Miami Dad’s Six, not sure if this is you’re first foray into BOC, but if it is then welcome. The first comment generally needs pre-approval but now that’s out of the way feel free to comment anytime.

      I absolutely agree, I think the pitch won’t be a flat belter at all. I think whoever wins the toss should absolutely bowl first. As much as we rightly praise England’s batting, there is always a chance that they get too ambitious on pitches that are a bit sticky…

      Like

      • Miami Dad's Six June 14, 2017 / 6:27 am

        Thanks. I am a sporadic poster and regular reader. I often can’t remember my exact email, computerly I’m not the most adept. Even my username is a dodgy autocorrect…

        In both their last two games Pakistan have got their opposition 7 down for not many, then allowed the tail to wag to make a bit of a game of it. You would feel that doing so again today will be the end of their tournament. I cannot see them chasing more than 240.

        Like

  2. Rooto June 14, 2017 / 9:15 am

    Pakistan to bowl first. So, one factor for a good game is in place. So, will it be 350-4 or 165 all out in 36 overs? Difficult to imagine England getting a middling score, despite the pitch.

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    • Mark June 14, 2017 / 9:19 am

      Amir is out for Pakistan with a back problem. JB plays instead of Jason Roy.

      Like

  3. Mark June 14, 2017 / 9:40 am

    Early days, only ten minutes in, but already there is a sea of blue empty seats!

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    • Mark June 14, 2017 / 9:56 am

      39…..”Garlic bread, it’s the future”

      Or is that

      “City cricket, it’s the future?” Not in Cardiff it isn’t.

      Like

      • SimonH June 14, 2017 / 10:06 am

        On the contrary Mark, this’ll be used to bury 50 over cricket and put the house on T20.

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        • Mark June 14, 2017 / 10:50 am

          Yea, and mostly in London.

          Like

  4. d'Arthez June 14, 2017 / 9:53 am

    And for the umpteenth time, can DRS software calculations (i.e. the actual code) be made public?

    Like

    • thelegglance June 14, 2017 / 11:38 am

      Greetings from Chiang Mai!

      I would point out that the ICC have not even released the report they commissioned into the accuracy of Hawkeye. Some might think that if it was nigh on perfect as we keep being told they’d be rather keen to as well…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Mark June 14, 2017 / 10:46 am

    250 may be a winning score on this pitch. 275 will take some chasing. Interesting to see if England go for 325-350 and end up in trouble.

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    • SteveT June 14, 2017 / 1:01 pm

      It’s going Pete Tong, 220 looks more likely. Seems to be a pattern with sides batting first setting a platform, getting bogged down on middle overs then collapsing in a heap trying to accelerate (SA, SL and Eng v Pak, Aus v Eng, NZ v Ban, SA v Ind). Combination of balls getting soft and spongy pitches?

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      • SteveT June 14, 2017 / 1:27 pm

        Nasser has just used the phrase ‘fragile character’. Any guesses who he was referring to. He also makes us favourites!

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        • Mark June 14, 2017 / 2:21 pm

          His aunt Nelly?

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        • Miami Dad's Six June 14, 2017 / 2:33 pm

          Ben Stokes-the nervous laddy?

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  6. d'Arthez June 14, 2017 / 1:09 pm

    Pakistan have to chase 212 from 50 overs to win. Not straightforward at all. But they are definitely in with a shout here.

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  7. SimonH June 14, 2017 / 1:57 pm

    Like

  8. Mark June 14, 2017 / 2:27 pm

    Cardiff waving goodbye to future international cricket I’m guessing. Poor crowds, and tacky low spongy wickets.

    Doubt there will be many big games played there in 2019 WC.

    Like

    • d'Arthez June 14, 2017 / 2:29 pm

      Yeah, they’ll get punished for the ticketing fiasco – and remind me again, who was in charge of that?

      Like

    • SteveT June 14, 2017 / 3:54 pm

      Building for 2019

      Like

  9. SimonH June 14, 2017 / 2:42 pm

    Slow ‘grabby’ wicket crying out for full, straight bowling…. ASian opener looks bit dodgy against one bouncer… lots of short stuff sent down which disappears to all parts….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark June 14, 2017 / 3:19 pm

      Morgan is going to cop it from the usual suspects for this bowling performance. Not that he is bowling the deliveries personally, but he isn’t able to get his bowlers to copy Pakistan and bowl a fuller length.

      Seems like England had a plan to bowl short, and didn’t change to meet the conditions. Then again when you make only 211 you don’t give yourself much chance.

      Like

  10. d'Arthez June 14, 2017 / 3:27 pm

    The last time England defended a target of less than 250, was in May 2014 against Sri Lanka. That match was rain-reduced to 39 overs for England, and 32 for Sri Lanka. So should not really count for comparison purposes.

    The last time England won posting less than 250 in a non-reduced match, was in 2011, against South Africa during the WC of that year. Uhh, not much experience in the team dealing with these situations.

    Like

  11. SteveT June 14, 2017 / 3:44 pm

    Nasser has asked the question ‘is this a pitch fit for a semi-final’

    Like

    • oreston June 14, 2017 / 3:55 pm

      Pakistan are 177 for 2 in the 34th over. I wonder what colour the sky is on Nasser’s home planet?

      Like

  12. oreston June 14, 2017 / 4:00 pm

    To be honest I’m now hoping against hope for the mother of all upsets in the other semi final and a Pakistan vs Bangladesh final.

    Liked by 1 person

    • SteveT June 14, 2017 / 4:56 pm

      I went to that!

      Like

      • SimonH June 14, 2017 / 5:38 pm

        I was watching on TV (when I should have been revising for my A-levels).

        My main memory is Botham being bowled trying to square-cut an off-spinner that rolled along the ground and hit the base of leg-spin. England had looked imperious in the Group stages, but it was not to be.

        Mohinder Amarnath was a terrific cricketer and Sandeep Patil blazed brightly but briefly (I remember him hitting Bob Willis all over OT in a Test match and he made 174 in Australia that was reportedly one of the best innings played against Dennis Lillee).

        Like

  13. Rooto June 14, 2017 / 4:17 pm

    Well we know which Pakistan turned up. We also know which Stokes turned up – the ‘nothing’ as opposed to the ‘all’. No complaints from me – he had a good tournament until today – but he’s not a banker. If the 2019 pitches are similar to this year’s, the England side may need one more stolid type, and one fewer all or nothing type. That could be bad news for Moeen too.
    I actually think having Pakistan in the final is great news for the tournament, genuine full house guaranteed. Great all-round performance from them.

    Like

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