In a crucial showdown at the iconic Eden Gardens, Pakistan faces England in what could be a virtual knockout clash. As New Zealand won in their previous clash, Pakistan must secure a convincing win against England to upstage the Kiwis on Net Run Rate (NRR).
England, despite enduring a challenging campaign marked by five consecutive defeats, breathed a sigh of relief with a triumph over the Netherlands in their last outing.
Although out of contention for the semi-finals, they have a distinct target in sight—the final Champions Trophy 2025 qualification spot.
Securing the seventh position in the ongoing World Cup standings, along with enhancing their Net Run Rate to -0.885, England is determined to clinch the coveted qualification spot.
Reflecting on their recent victory against the Netherlands, England showcased both strength and vulnerability. While they soared to 133-1, a mini-collapse ensued, reducing them to 192-6.
A spectacular 108-run innings by Ben Stokes guided them to a formidable total of 339-9, ultimately securing a massive 160-run victory.
Dawid Malan, England’s standout performer with 373 runs at an average of 46.62, will be a key asset in the upcoming clash. With Jos Buttler and Joe Root grappling for form, the onus is on the dynamic Harry Brook to step up and make an impact.
England’s bowling, a weak link throughout the tournament, has seen notable contributions from Adil Rashid and Chris Woakes.
However, the Bengaluru pitch, conducive to spin, might bring Moeen Ali and David Willey into play, providing England with an opportunity to strengthen their bowling unit.
In contrast, Pakistan’s journey in the World Cup has been a rollercoaster. After a string of defeats, they resurrected their campaign with a stunning comeback against New Zealand.
Fakhar Zaman’s explosive knock of 126 off 81 balls propelled them to victory after conceding 401 runs. Zaman’s scintillating form, coupled with Babar Azam’s resurgence and the potential of Mohammad Rizwan, positions Pakistan as a formidable force.
Pakistan’s bowling trio of Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, and Mohammad Wasim Jr. is expected to exploit the conditions at Eden Gardens, troubling the English batsmen.
The role of Iftikhar Ahmed’s spin becomes crucial in the middle overs, as England may target him to apply pressure on Pakistan. As the two teams lock horns in this decisive encounter, the stage is set for a thrilling battle with semi-final aspirations hanging in the balance.
ENG vs PAK Probable XI
England: Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Harry Brook, Jos Buttler (c & wk), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, David Willey, Gus Atkinson, Adil Rashid
Pakistan: Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Agha Salman, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Haris Rauf