Pakistan eye third spot in T20 rankings in England series decider

Babar's team look to end England tour with victory in Manchester on Tuesday

England did not waste much time in getting back on track as they completed a clinical 45-run victory in the second T20 in Leeds on Sunday to level the three-match series.

Pakistan had raised hopes of turning a corner after being thrashed 3-0 in the preceding ODI series by claiming the first T20 by 31 runs. However, the depth in England's ranks shone through in the second game as the hosts posted 200 and their spinners then choked the runs and restricted the men in green to just 155-9.

The series decider in Manchester on Tuesday, therefore, has plenty riding on it. For England, it will mean another step forward in a T20 World Cup year with key players still missing. Pakistan, on the other hand, need victory for a couple of reasons.

Losing both white-ball series will sow seeds of uncertainty in the minds of Pakistan management, which is not an ideal way to build up towards a World Cup. Also, if Pakistan win the Manchester T20, they will rise to third in the ICC rankings.

Babar Azam's team are currently in fourth spot on 262 ranking points, just one behind New Zealand. If they win, Pakistan will leapfrog the Black Caps to third position with 264 points. England are on top of the table with India right behind.

The hosts will have other plans though. England trapped Pakistan's batting with a big dose of spin in the second T20, and will look to continue with that plan. Slow bowlers Adil Rashid, Matt Parkinson and Moeen Ali sent down a total of 11 overs in Leeds — an England T20 record.

The visitors will have to make some tough decisions. Fast bowler Haris Rauf went for 44 and 48 runs in the two T20s, and they can't afford another expensive outing from a front-line quick. Fellow pacer Mohammad Hasnain leaked 51 runs last time out but his figures of 1-28 in the high-scoring first match were excellent, which should keep his spot safe.

Updated: July 19th 2021, 12:55 PM
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