Having easily gotten the better of Pakistan in the first two ODIs, England would be keen to keep Pakistan
Having easily gotten the better of Pakistan in the first two ODIs, England would be keen to keep Pakistan under the pump, when the teams clash in the third ODI at Nottingham on Tuesday. England have had it all too easy in the one-dayers so far. They chased a revised D/L target in the first match without dropping a sweat, and got home by four wickets in the second game while never looking in trouble. As for Pakistan, they just haven't been able to make any sort of impression in the series. Their batting has struggled in a big way, as a result, the bowlers haven't had a lot to bowl at.
The only way Pakistan are likely to make an impact in the series is if they show significant improvements in their batting. The struggling Mohammad Hafeez is out injured, but he has been replaced by the tall fast bowler Mohammad Irfan. So the batting combination for the next game is likely to remain the same. In the last match, Pakistan were reduced to an embarrassing position as Sami Aslam, Sharjeel Khan and skipper Azhar Ali all fell contributing just one run among them. Clearly, Pakistan would be seeking a much better start from their top three in their endeavour to stay alive.
The big positive for Pakistan from the loss at Lord's was the fighting century constructed by Sarfraz Ahmed. He was a cut above the rest at Lord's. In fact, Ahmed has been among the few positives for Pakistan in one-dayers in recent times, as far as batting is concerned. He has been consistency personified. Imad Wasim gave him good support with a half-century in previous match. So, it is not as if it's all going wrong for them. What they need is bigger scores from the likes of Babar Azam and Shoaib Malik. In the bowling, a lot will be expected from Yasir Shah and Mohammad Amir.
England, on the other hand, just need to continue doing what they have been doing so well. With the ball, Mark Wood has made an excellent comeback, impressing with his pace and potency. Chris Woakes too has continued to make an impact with the ball. Further, Liam Plunkett has got wickets at key moments while keeping things reasonably tight. Having said that, England still need to improve their performance in the spin department. Both Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali have not really managed to make much of an impact.
With not much to chase across the two matches, things have been easy for England's batsmen. Joe Root has continued his fantastic form with half-centuries in both games. He will be seeking a three-figure score now. Jason Roy contributed a half-century in the first match while skipper Eoin Morgan eased to one in the second. England will want the form players to remain in nick. The biggest worry for England in the batting department right now is the form of Alex Hales. He just refuses to come out of his slump. If Hales can get his act together, England's performance will only be enhanced.