England vs Pakistan, ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: From targeting hosts' X factor players to reverse-swing during chase, key moments from match

Through a recap of the most enthralling passages of play, let’s list out why Pakistan beating England makes for the worthiest contender for the upset of the tournament.

Yash Jha, Jun 04, 2019 09:44:32 IST

‘Upsets’ are umbilically tied to the narrative of sport, but in the constantly shape-shifting picture of modern-day cricket, what even qualifies as an upset?

Bangladesh’s win over South Africa at The Oval on Sunday? Not really, given that the ‘upsetters’ in question have proven themselves to be the second-best team in Asia over the World Cup cycle, and claimed this victory against a team that played the game without its senior-most batsman, and could only call on one of their two main fast bowlers for less than half his quota of overs.

A possible Afghanistan win over Sri Lanka at Cardiff on Tuesday? Not so much, considering they comprehensively beat the same opponents the last time they met them, at the Asia Cup in September, and will be going up against a side who have won once in 10 games this year, that too only against Scotland.

Between these two fixtures, match number five and seven, respectively, of the ICC World Cup 2019, the world saw one, on Monday, at Trent Bridge, which checks out for any qualifying parameter of the term ‘upset’.

Through a recap of the most enthralling passages of play, let’s list out why Pakistan beating England makes for the worthiest contender for the upset of the tournament.

Chin music fades out to Fakhar and Imam

England vs Pakistan, ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: From targeting hosts X factor players to reverse-swing during chase, key moments from match

Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman poured water over the fire the hosts intended to unleash. AFP

Pakistan had lost their last 11 matches in a row.

In the last of those, opening their World Cup campaign against a side that had only made it through the qualifiers, at a venue where the average score over the past four years for 361, they were shot out for 105 in 21.4 overs.

Their next opponents took a leaf from their previous conquerors’ manual, and drafted their fastest bowler into the XI, which meant England went into an ODI with two bowlers capable of clocking above 90 mph for the first time in over a decade (Andrew Flintoff and Steve Harmison, April 2009).

You knew what was coming. But Pakistan, too, knew what was coming.

The stuff from Chris Woakes may have been more regular in terms of line and length, but Jofra Archer was virtually constantly dishing out that short stuff which had been the undoing of virtually the entire Pakistan batting lineup just three days earlier.

Perhaps England erred by not getting Archer’s fellow 90 mph exponent, Mark Wood, to bowl in tandem with him.

Regardless, Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman poured water over the fire the hosts intended to unleash, and Pakistan were 62 for no loss after eight overs.

Coming into this World Cup, Pakistan’s scoring rate in all their matches against the nine other participating teams since June 2015 was 4.64.

Targeting the ‘X’ Factors

Pakistan had lost their last 11 matches in a row.

Four of those had come against this very opponent, in these very conditions, in the month just gone by.

It is no trade secret that Archer’s rapidly-bypassed ‘work permit’ was an effort to bring in that ‘something extra’ which makes the difference between very good teams and world champion teams; in his first go at the international stage, during the aforementioned ODIs against Pakistan, the ‘Bajan bomber’ had conceded 4.85 runs per over even as his new teammates made a regular mockery of 350-ish targets. Then, on his maiden World Cup appearance, he dented the South African batting lineup – quite literally – to return figures of 7-0-27-3.

Prior to Archer, the designated ‘X’ factor to this World Cup favourite English side was Adil Rashid, whose brand of brave leg-spin had conjured 70 wickets in 40 innings since the start of the 2017 Champions Trophy at a commendable strike rate of 30 and even more commendable economy rate of 5.55. In 39 matches where his quota wasn’t cut short by rain, Rashid had bowled six or lesser overs all of thrice, and his figures in those three outings read 6-0-28-1, 5-0-36-4 and 6-0-34-3.

At Nottingham on Monday, Pakistan reduced these two X-factors to quite nothing for a day.

Archer’s opening spell to Fakhar and Imam, described above, had lasted four overs and cost 25. None of his subsequent spells brought any damage either, and the four overs he bowled at the death went for 43; the last of those deliveries, the last ball of the 49th was hit for six over long-off by promoted number nine Hasan Ali.

Rashid, while suffering a piece of misfortune early in his spell (more on that right below), was dispatched well enough for him to be dispatched from the attack after only five overs.

Archer’s figures? 10-0-79-0. Rashid’s figures? 5-0-43-0.

Favourites feel the pressure?

Pakistan had lost their last 11 matches in a row.

Fielding, or a lack thereof, had had a large part to play in a significant number of those defeats. On Monday, they would find their opponents in the kind of butter-finger zone that has consumed the hairline of one-too-many a Pakistan coach in the past.

Hadn’t England looked like a flying dream during the World Cup opener against South Africa? Didn’t they ridicule every pre-tournament notion of how the pressure of expectation would consume them?

They did. And then, at Trent Bridge, they undid it.

It could be reasonably verified that England made 13 lapses in the field, which cost them to the tune of 17 runs. The margin of Pakistan’s victory? 14 runs.

The tour de ‘farce’ – and the game-changing moment on the day, if you had to pick one ala IPL – was Jason Roy dropping a sitter after Rashid had drawn a false shot out of Mohammad Hafeez.

Roy reacted to his faux pas by pointing upwards, seemingly in the direction of the sun, to suggest the obvious – this while his sunglasses rested prettily on top of his cap, rather than sitting on his eyes.

Hafeez was on 14 off 11 at the point. He finished with 84 off 62.

Shadab does a Tahir, Roy does a Bairstow

Pakistan had lost their last 11 matches in a row.

Shadab Khan had only featured in the first and last of those losses; he had never bowled with a new ball before in his 35 prior ODIs.

In England’s opening game, South Africa had started proceedings with Imran Tahir – making him the first spinner to deliver the first over of a World Cup – in a data-oriented bid to shake Jason Roy up.

Tahir, instead, took out Roy’s more-adept-facing-spin partner Jonny Bairstow with the first ball he bowled to him, and the ploy had worked.

Pakistan, famously infamous for not always being a team that come out on the park with a barrage of research behind their tactics, aped the South African strategy. The reward wasn’t as instantaneous, but it only took until the first ball of Shadab’s second – and the innings’ third – over for Roy to fall to the ploy after all.

When Bairstow nicked behind off Wahab Riaz in the ninth over, it was only the second time this year that England had lost both their openers in the first 10 overs of the innings.

The Professor and the Old Horse cramp England’s middle

Mohammad Hafeez (L) celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of England's captain Eoin Morgan. AFP

Mohammad Hafeez (L) celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of England's captain Eoin Morgan. AFP

Pakistan had lost their last 11 matches in a row.

They had struggled to settle on any sort of a bowling combination through this stretch.

Their solution was to drop the most economical bowler from the year in their XV-man squad (min. 50 overs) as they faced the most high-scoring ODI team of all-time. To replace Imad Wasim, they intended on bowling 10 overs between Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik.

Now the two off-spinners may have been considered all-rounders, legitimately, for a prolonged part of their lengthy careers, but in present day, that tag would be a bit of a stretch: Hafeez had bowled 22 overs in his last eight games; Malik had bowled 27 in the last three years.

At Trent Bridge – the same Trent Bridge where Pakistan conceded 444 the last time they played – 38-year-old Hafeez and 37-year-old Malik combined for 10 overs that gave away all of 53 runs, and resulted in the wickets of Eoin Morgan and Ben Stokes.

A reversing ball, and a reversal of fortunes

Pakistan had lost their last 11 matches in a row.

In this period, they had fielded nine different fast-bowling options (ten, including Asif Ali’s 0.5 overs), who had a combined economy rate of 6.64.

Mohammad Amir had bowled 101 overs since the end of his India-destroying act at the 2017 Champions Trophy final – and taken five wickets.

Wahab Riaz hadn’t played a game for two years prior to this World Cup; it had barely been a year since he was booted out by coach Mickey Arthur, and not even two months since chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq declared that there were several better fast bowlers in the country than Riaz.

Reverse swing was supposed to have been eradicated from the ODI game with the introduction of two balls for the 50 overs – how could one get an at-best 25-over old ball to start reversing?

Well, didn’t we all have questions?

Haven’t they all been answered?

The fortunes, like that ball in the back-end of the English run-chase, reversed. Pakistan have arrived at the World Cup.

For all the latest news, opinions and analysis from ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, click here

 

Updated Date: Jun 04, 2019 09:44:32 IST


World Cup 2019 Points Table

Team p w l nr pts
India 9 7 1 1 15
Australia 9 7 2 0 14
England 9 6 3 0 12
New Zealand 9 5 3 1 11
Pakistan 9 5 3 1 11
Sri Lanka 9 3 4 2 8
South Africa 9 3 5 1 7
Bangladesh 9 3 5 1 7
West Indies 9 2 6 1 5
Afghanistan 9 0 9 0 0





Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3663 105
5 Australia 2640 98
6 Sri Lanka 3462 94
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6420 123
2 India 6807 122
3 New Zealand 4763 113
4 Australia 5470 112
5 South Africa 5193 110
6 Pakistan 4756 97
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 Australia 5471 261
5 India 7273 260
6 New Zealand 4056 254