Players to watch during the third T20I between England and Pakistan
After England’s historic chase in the second T20I, the hosts will look to win the series with another victory in the third and final T20I against Pakistan at the Old Trafford Cricket Ground in Manchester.
Pakistan, who face a must-win situation, will likely be without pacer Mohammad Amir, who suffered a hamstring injury in the second T20I. Who can step up in his absence and who can England rely on to guide them to another series win? We take a look at the players to watch out for in the third T20I.
The 32-year-old Yorkshire batsman has finally found his footing in international cricket after years of piling runs aplenty in domestic cricket.
Batting at No. 3 in the absence of Joe Root, Malan, playing the anchor role for the hosts, has been good in each of his two outings in the series.
While the English batting line-up, with the exception of Tom Banton, crumbled in the first T20I, Malan played a gritty knock of 23 off 23 balls to help England put a respectable total on the scoreboard before rain interrupted proceedings and the match was called off.
In the second T20I, Malan was at his brilliant best, smashing 54 off 36 balls to help England chase down 194, the second-highest successful chase in the country. The 32-year-old has been in great touch in this series and England will be hopeful that the experienced southpaw will deliver in the third T20I as well.
It’s been over two years and 13 innings since Pakistan opener Fakhar Zaman scored a half-century in T20Is for his nation.
After his brilliant 91 off 46 against Australia, Zaman failed to cross 25 in each of his next 12 outings for Pakistan. However, that changed in the second T20, as the opener struck a flashy 36 off 22 before being dismissed by Adil Rashid.
Zaman struck five boundaries and a six in his knock of 36 and looked confident out in the centre against the English attack. This could be the springboard that the 30-year-old needed to end his slump and Pakistan could really do with a big score from their experienced opener in the final match of the series.
Despite playing twenty T20Is for his country, all-rounder Tom Curran is yet to have a meaningful impact on the international stage.
The 25-year-old has picked up 22 wickets in his 20 appearances, however, his economy rate of 9.25 makes him one of the most expensive bowlers operating at the international level. His fairly decent strike rate of 17.2 doesn’t quite make up for his inability to curb the runs.
With the bat, he’s managed just 38 runs in eight outings, but that could be attributed to the depth of the England batting line-up and the lack of chances that Curran has gotten at the international stage.
But, the point remains that he needs to perform well to keep his place in the playing XI and the third T20I against Pakistan could be one of the final opportunities he gets to showcase that he belongs on the international stage.
The 21-year-old all-rounder has performed quite well in the ongoing T20I series against England.
Shadab has picked up five wickets in two matches at a decent economy rate of 8.37. He was the pick of the Pakistani bowlers in the second T20I, finishing with figures of 3-34. Not only did he just pick wickets, but he also scalped two important ones, dismissing both English openers who were in stellar touch in the powerplay overs.
Pakistan will be hopeful that Shadab can continue his good form in the final T20I.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Mike Hewitt
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