Pakistan is all set to host the biggest international T20 cricket series on its home ground in September following the confirmation from England and Wales Cricket Board. ECB has confirmed that England’s white ball cricket team will visit Pakistan in the second week of September.
Both the boards are working on finalizing the details of the tour following PCB Chief Ramiz Raja’s meeting with British High Commissioner, Christian Turner. This will be the first time that two international cricket teams are playing a series of seven T20 internationals. Tour will end the 17 years wait for Pakistani cricket audience.
England was due to play two T20I in October last year but they cancelled the tour which received severe backlash from Pakistan and English cricket fraternity.
England and Pakistan currently ranked 2nd and 3rd respectively in ICC T20 ranking and are among the favorites to lift the T20 world cup this October.
Johnny Bairstow vs Shaheen Shah Afridi
The most interesting head to head battle is expected to be one in between Johnny Bairstow and Shaheen Shah Afridi. Johnny Bairstow would not have forgotten the toe crushing inside out yorker of Shaheen Shah Afridi which removed his bails in Old Trafford cricket ground. The batting style of Bairstow take pitch or conditions out of equation so it will be interesting to see how he unleashes his bat in Lahore, Rawalpindi and Multan.
Liam Livingstone vs Shadab Khan
Both the England and Pakistan cricket fans have not forgotten the monumental sixes of Livingstone against Pakistan last year. Livingstone is the only batsman to have scored a century in T20 against Pakistan. Shadab Khan remained victorious against Livingstone last year. It will be interesting to see how Shadab Khan puts a full stop to Livingstone’s fury.
Babar Azam vs Saqib Mehmood
In July last year Saqib Mehmood surprised cricket fraternity when he got Babar Azam out in two successive ODI’s. The current number one ranked white ball batsman in both formats and Pakistan’s skipper Babar Azam will be eying on this contest to settle the score with Saqib Mehmood. As cricket commentators often say “Babar Azam is generally scary but Babar Azam with a point to prove is an altogether different force.” It will be interesting to watch how Babar plays those beautiful cover drives against Saqib or Saqib continues to dominate Babar.
Fakhar Zaman vs Moeen Ali
Moeen Ali’s off break in early overs annoyed Fakhar Zaman in 2020 series between England and Pakistan. Fakhar Zaman has also not been in a dream form lately in T20Is. The battle between two can be crucial in deciding the end result of this series as Pakistan will rely heavily on Fakhar in the absence of an experienced middle order.
Jos Buttler vs Everyone
If there is one batsman who can alter the predicted result in white ball cricket for a team on any day… it’s Jos Buttler. He can shun every stat and data maneuvers of the opponent team with his bat. In first ODI against Netherlands last week, he almost broke Ab de Villiers’ record of fastest 150 runs. He scored 162 off only 70 balls which took his team’s total to 498 a new world record for the highest scores in an ODI. So it will be Jos Buttler against everyone and whoever wins this battle will lift the series trophy.