We don’t have a great record with our predictions at 51allout. In our brief time we’ve predicted epic Indian wins in England and Australia, England to thrash Pakistan in Tests and Steve Smith to become a key cog in the Australian machine. Not that constantly getting stuff utterly wrong is a problem for us. We even have it on our CVs, which helps explain why we’re all unemployed. That and our kleptomania.
That’s right, we’re even brave enough to subvert the natural order of things and talk about the away side first. England have all the momentum after a wildly successful one day series and will probably only make a few changes to the side. Alastair Cook hands over the armband and drops to the bench, with Alex Hales set to replace him. We reckon old Iron Gloves Kieswetter will also get a go at the top of the order, with KP moving down to three and Morgan at four. With Bopara still injured, it’ll likely be Bairstow and Buttler at five and six, at least to start with. Hopefully they’ll actually get a chance to show what they can do over the course of the three games. Buttler in particular seems to have spent his international career to date waiting to bat and then being out.
In terms of the bowlers, it’s likely to be Bresnan and Finn alongside the captain Stuart Broad. Graeme Swann will definitely be the first choice spinner, and we expect Samit to keep his place. The decent performances of the latter have caused us to have some very confusing feelings – are we happy that he’s in the side, just because it means we can abuse him more often? Or is that the gin talking?
There’s probably a T20 World Cup coming along fairly soon – we haven’t seen one for a while now – so England will be looking to bed down most of their starting eleven, with a few options in reserve, such as Danny Briggs. When they won in the West Indies plan B consisted of a single over from Luke Wright. They’re likely to need a bit more next time around.
Such as many overs from Luke Wright.
Pakistan were an absolute shambles at times during the ODI series. The batting was disappointing, with a number of starts and a lower number of finishes (i.e. zero). The bowling was mixed – the spinners were okay but the seamers were just awful, like watching new episodes of the Simpsons, or any episode of Miranda. The end result is that Pakistan are in need of a bit of a fresh start.
However, the word on the street is that they’ll give the players who stank up the ODI series the chance to redeem themselves. They’ll need to do an awful lot of redeeming to undo their work from the last four games.
In the absence of some of Pakistan’s more sedate batsman there should be opportunities for Awais Zia, a highly rated young prospect about whom we know very little, and Hammad Azam, the all-rounder, about whom we also know very little. But the pressure will be on the more vaunted names – Shahid Afridi, Umar Gul et al – to prove that they still deserve their places in the side as Pakistan begin the process of publicly arguing over what went wrong.
England to win 2-1. It’s worth remembering that England are actually pretty decent at this T20 lark, so we’d expect them to have enough to win the series, despite the fact there’s always one match when everything goes a bit wrong. We reckon Shahid Afridi will single-handedly win one of the games, either with bat or ball (or possibly both).
What do you think? There’s a poll over there on the right somewhere and you can give us your views via our email or through Twitter, where someone will be chirping away throughout all three matches. Unless we actually get jobs in the meantime, but don’t hold your breath on that one.