England v Pakistan T20 Prediction: Tourists can draw first blood at Edgbaston

 | Friday 24th May 2024, 8:53am

Friday 24th May 2024, 8:53am

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It’s the 2nd T20I on Saturday, May 25 (15:00, Sky Sports Cricket) between England and Pakistan after rain ruined the chances of us getting a game in the first match of the Series.

James Pacheco thinks Pakistan are being vastly under-rated here, while there’s a stand-out price on an England middle-order batsman to exploit. Check out all of his thinking in the England vs Pakistan T20 Predictions column below...

England vs Pakistan T20 Betting Tips

  • Moeen Ali to be England Top Runscorer @ 11/1
  • Shaheen Shah Afridi to be Pakistan Top Wicket-Taker @ 13/5

*Please click on the linked odds above to add this selection directly to your betslip on betfred.com (or app).

England

It’s a shame that the rain was so heavy in the lead-up to the match that we didn’t even get the chance to see who England would have fielded in their side had it gone ahead. No team announcements, no toss, nothing.

We have to assume that with only these four games to come before the World Cup gets under way, that they’ll be fielding their best-possible side in at least two of the remaining three games. But again, we can only speculate on who might be in it.

Given the current obsession with right hand/left-hand combinations, it may mean that Moeen Ali, as the only established left-hander, bats higher than he normally would, so at four or five.

The other option is to find room for Ben Duckett but he looks behind others in the pecking order. As highlighted in our analysis of England's Odds for winning the World Cup, there are plenty of options for England with the ball with Ali, Will Jacks and Liam Livingstone (who may miss out) all very capable in addition to the specialist bowlers. The batting looks strong but all of Jos Buttler, Will Jacks, Phil Salt and Jonny Bairstow are natural opening batsmen.

Possible XI: Buttler, Salt, Jacks, Ali, Bairstow, Brook, Sam Curran, Jordan, Rashid, Archer, Topley

Pakistan

Pakistan are of course my fancy for World Cup glory, as indicated in my T20 World Cup Betting Guide earlier in the month but we all know this is a side that comes with a health warning when backing them. Let’s hope there are more brilliant than brainless days for them in June because it’s certainly not for lack of raw talent that they won’t go deep.

It seems they’ve decided on breaking up the prolific Babar/Rizwan opening partnership by playing Saim Ayub alongside Rizwan and moving the skipper to three. It’s not a bad move because Ayub can score quicker in the Powerplay while Babar at three fills what has been something of a problematic position for them over the years.

All-rounder Shadab Khan, the superb left quick Shaheen Shah Afridi and boundary machine Azam Khan are others to look out for.

Possible XI: Ayub, Rizwan, Babar, Fakhar, Azam Khan, Imad, Iftikhar, Shadab, Afridi, Amir/Rauf, Abbas

Pitch and conditions

There have only been two T20I matches here since 2020: in 2022 India scored 170 which they defended with ease and last year New Zealand scored 202, also defended with minimum of fuss.

Small sample though that is, the first conclusions are a) 170 should be the bare minimum for the side having first digs b) batting first could be the way to go and c) England don’t have a particularly good record here recently.

England did however beat India (2014) and Australia (2018) here, while Pakistan beat Australia twice in two days back in 2010 here in Birmingham.

England vs Pakistan T20 Odds

*Please click on the link above to be taken to the main England vs Pakistan market page on betfred.com (or app) for all the live betting prices on this match.

England were hot favourites ahead of that washed-out game and the odds have pretty much stayed the same for this one. The latter is understandable; the fact that they were such a short price to begin with, less so.

While England’s players were either playing county cricket or IPL the last month, Pakistan’s were beating New Zealand and Ireland in back-to-back Series, in the process also acclimatising to damp, overcast English conditions while in Ireland.

They’ll know who their best XI currently is better than England do and have some games as a team under their belts.

Seaming conditions are likely to play into the hands of Afridi, Mohammad Amir (remember him?) and Harris Rauf as much as those of the England quicks, so that’s not where the hosts are likely to have an edge, either. The tourists rate a pretty good bet at 15/8 irrespective of the outcome of the toss.

England Top Batsman

Buttler (5/2) and Salt (11/4) are the favourites for England top batsman and that’s no surprise given they’ll open and that they were in good form in the IPL. Jacks (18/5) and Bairstow (4/1) should see some business, too.

But if my theory about England trying to find a place for Ali in the Top 4 is correct, the 11/1 on him will look very big indeed. If that’s what happens and he bats higher, this may well be the last time in the next month you’ll be able to back him at these sorts of odds. This is a man with 41 T20 fifties (across domestic and international games) to his name and a strike rate in excess of 140 we’re talking about.

Even if he does bat at 6 or 7, he could still come good if England go at it too hard or Pakistan bowl particularly well. The unknown batting position is a bit of a concern of course but then again that’s why he’s the price he is, so worth a gamble.

Pakistan Top Bowler

If Ali is a lively outsider potentially rating great value, Afridi is very much a different sort of wager: an extremely worthy favourite.

The recently-deposed skipper has a brilliant T20I strike rate of 15.8 and is one of those who can make the ball talk.

Not only does he have a fine record in English conditions in all formats but he’s been in particularly good form recently. Across his last six T20Is (three against New Zealand, three against Ireland), his wickets tally in those games reads: 3, 0, 4, 1, 3 and 3.

Any sort of repeat of those performances and he’ll be very much in the mix, particularly given he should bowl at the death when wickets tend to fall.

Jamie Pacheco predominantly covers Cricket for us at Betfred Insights. You can check out his Cricket Betting Tips, along with those from the rest of the team, at our Cricket hub page... 

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