It’s both a dead rubber and a dress rehearsal today as England take on Pakistan in the final ODI for both sides before the World Cup.
Two weeks tomorrow, England play Pakistan in the tournament, back at Trent Bridge, where they met on Friday.
Today, with rather less of a buzz in the air, they meet at Headingley for the fifth and final one-day international. England hold an unassailable 3-0 lead.
England: 1 Jonny Bairstow, 2 James Vince, 3 Joe Root, 4 Eoin Morgan (c), 5 Jos Buttler (w), 6 Ben Stokes, 7 Moeen Ali, 8 David Willey, 9 Chris Woakes, 10 Tom Curran, 11 Adil Rashid.
Pakistan: 1 Fakhar Zaman, 2 Abid Ali, 3 Babar Azam, 4 Shoaib Malik, 5 Sarfaraz Ahmed (c, w), 6 Mohammad Hafeez, 7 Asif Ali, 8 Imad Wasim, 9 Hasan Ali, 10 Mohammad Hasnain, 11 Shaheen Afridi.
Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed lamented his side’s performance in the field after England claimed an unassailable 3-0 lead in their five-match ODI series on Friday.
After failing to defend a target of 359 in the third ODI, Sarfraz and his team disappointed again by suffering a three-wicket defeat in the fourth match at Trent Bridge after posting a first innings score of 340/7.
“Tough luck, we put runs on the board but our bowling and fielding was not up to the mark,” the 31-year-old said.
Sarfraz was particularly critical of the fielding with centurion and match-winner Jason Roy dropped by Fakhar Zaman off Imad Wasim while on 27.
Their failure to defend huge scores back-to-back is a real concern with this summer’s World Cup kicking off on May 30.
“If we took catches and executed better, that was the difference. We have been working hard, but the way we are fielding is not up to the mark, with the World Cup coming.”
The wicketkeeper-batsman also rued the quality of the bowling in the death overs when they needed to restrict the hosts only for Ben Stokes to finish things off with an unbeaten 71 off 64 deliveries.
“We missed yorkers, Mohammad Hasnain only playing his fourth match so they will learn.”
Pakistan have a couple of injury concerns heading into the fifth and final ODI on Sunday.
In-form opener Imam-ul-Haq retired hurt on just 3 after a Mark Wood delivery in the fourth over struck him on the his left elbow. Meanwhile, Mohammad Amir has reportedly come down with chicken pox but has been named in the World Cup squad.
“Imam will hopefully be okay [for Sunday], a bruise on the elbow, but I’m not sure about Amir,” Sarfraz revealed.
New Zealand wicketkeeper-batsman Tom Latham could miss his team’s World Cup opener against Sri Lanka at Cardiff on June 1 due to a finger fracture he sustained last week.
Latham was injured during his team’s warm-up game against Australia in Brisbane.
The wicketkeeper was cleared to travel to the World Cup along with the rest of the squad and the injury is healing well, according to stuff.co.nz. But he could miss their warm-up games and opener.
Tom Blundell will stand guard behind the stumps if Latham becomes unavailable for their game against New Zealand. He could hence become the first New Zealander since 1987 to debut in an ODI game at the World Cup.
Tim Seifert – who is recovering from a finger injury himself – and test wicketkeeper BJ Watling did not travel with the squad on Sunday.
New Zealand chief selector Gavin Larsen told Trackside Radio confirmed that the medical staff will take a call on Latham’s availability.
“Whether he [Latham] takes his place in those warm-up games we’ll take a day-by-day approach on that, which will be down to the medical guys and Gary [Stead] and support staff when they’re over there,” Larsen told Trackside Radio, as quoted by Cricbuzz.
“They’re both ready; Tim has come off the back of his finger injury, that’s OK, and BJ has been going well. We’ve got the different skill sets covered.”