We’re having a dreadful run. That’s the third game in a row between England and Pakistan where a result hasn’t been possible due to constant rain. In terms of what we can take from the 16.1 overs we did see, Tom Banton (70 from 42) really has something about him. Also, Pakistan’s bowling is of the very top quality, as is their wicketkeeper Rizwan. Other than that, well, what can we say other than let’s try again on Sunday afternoon? Thanks for your patience and company. Goodnight!
Rain stops play
WICKET! Gregory st Rizwan b Imad 2 (England 123-6)
WICKET! Moeen c Rizwan b Shadab 8 (England 120-5)
at 2.14pm EDT
WICKET! Morgan lbw b Iftikhar 14 (England 118-4)
at 2.16pm EDT
WICKET! Banton c Imad b Shadab 71 (England 109-3)
Banton to 50!
WICKET! Malan run out [Hafeez] England 74-2
at 1.56pm EDT
WICKET! Bairstow c&b Imad 2 (England 3-1)
at 1.42pm EDT
Babar Azam has won the toss
Welcome back to the strangest international summer, Manchester again the venue for the first of three T20s between England Pakistan. Now, remember, when these matches were fixtured, they were set to be just before October’s World Cup in the shortest form of the game. Of course, that’s no longer. However, there’s no doubting how much this means to players who have had so little to do in 2020.
Especially the Pakistan white-ball specialists. While their colleagues in the Test arena have been slugging it out over the last month, they have been stuck in the nets waiting for their opportunity to make this trip worthwhile. It isn’t quite the same for England, but this is the second time they have been locked away for a series this summer and it starts to take a toll after a while. Still, they’re here now.
For the hosts, the big news is that they will be without Jason Roy, who injured his side when batting during the week. This has led to him also ruling himself out of the Indian Premier League. The expectation is that the opener will be back for the Australian series beginning this time next week, but there’s nothing certain. It’s likely that this will open the door to a Banton/Bairstow opening combination.
It is safe to assume that at least four and up to six of the Pakistan tourists will be making the jump from red to white ball in the space of four days, including skipper Babar Azam who is the top ranked T20 batsman in the world. It’ll also be interesting to see Sarfraz Ahmed back in operation, returning to his position behind the stumps after being dropped from the Test captaincy last year. Or maybe they’ll stick with Rizwan in that job and the veteran will miss out? We’ll know in 15 minutes.
What seems certain is that we will see both Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz with the new ball in their hands when the time comes. In the case of the former, he is no longer available for Test selection so this becomes his main, and only, stage. Shaheen Afridi will also be there, so that makes three southpaw quicks. Fun! Drop me a line at any stage, of course, I’m here all night. Back with the toss shortly.