Cricket World Cup 2019: Pakistan face run fest against England on record-setting Nottingham pitch

Waseem Ahmed 18:27 02/06/2019
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Sarfraz Ahmed and Eoin Morgan.

Pakistan‘s opening match of the 2019 World Cup was an unmitigated disaster, blasted away by a fiery Windies pace attack for 105 in Nottingham.

While pundits were expecting a high-scoring match in what has become the most batsman friendly venue in the world, Windies quicks led by Andre Russell and Oshane Thomas went on a short-ball offensive to shock the men in green and give the rest of the teams a formula to succeed in England this summer.

Pakistan’s next match is again in Nottingham. They play hosts and tournament favourites England on Monday and if the concern in the first game was the lack of runs, the opposite might be the case against Eoin Morgan’s hosts as the game will be played on the same pitch on which England made world record scores of 481-6 – against Australia last year – and 444-3 – against Pakistan in 2016.

The forecast for Monday is for clear skies, which means conditions could be ideal for a run fest and England’s unwritten ‘mission’ of becoming the first team to score 500 in an ODI could well get the chance of becoming a reality.

Pakistan have a tough task at hand as they now have to contend with a marauding batting line-up on a high-scoring pitch just days after their batsmen were exposed against the short ball.

However, Pakistan bowling coach Azhar Mahmood played down the prospects of a 500-run game, saying he has enough confidence in his bowling line-up to produce 10 wicket-taking balls.

“I am hearing talk of 480, 500 score on this wicket. England need to play 300 deliveries to score those runs, we just need 10 good deliveries, 10 wicket taking deliveries. Our bowling line-up has ability to bowl England out for under 300,” Azhar said on Sunday.

Even England assistant coach Graham Thorpe said his team will look to score as many runs as possible, not aim for 500.

“If we get into a good position, we’ll try to score as many as we can. But at the same time if it doesn’t happen, you’ve got to put a competitive score on the board to put the opposition under pressure,” Thorpe said.

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