Pakistan grapple with Mohammad Amir setback as England look to ring in the changes for third ODI

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Mohammad Amir (l) is reportedly down with chicken pox.

After what was a high-scoring second ODI between the two sides, hosts England and Pakistan are all set to lock horns once again in the third game of the five-match series at Bristol on Tuesday.

Led by a 106-ball 138 by opener Fakhar Zaman, Pakistan nearly pulled off the second highest run chase in ODI history after England had scored 373-3 at Southampton but they now find themselves trailing 0-1 in the five-match series.

Ahead of the pivotal third ODI between the two sides, we look at the key talking points.

ENGLAND PONDER WORLD CUP OPTIONS

While they will want to keep the winning momentum going, hosts England also have the World Cup on their mind and that could see them making a few changes for the third ODI.

World Cup prospect Jofra Archer did not feature in the second match after an impressive outing in the washed-out series opener. While Archer waits for another chance, England could bring in Tom Curran on Tuesday as they seek to test various combinations.

After an expensive outing at Southampton, leg-spinner Adil Rashid could be dropped to make way for Joe Denly who would be a like-for-like replacement. There is also a chance that second ODI centurion Jos Buttler could be rested to give the recalled James Vince an opportunity with the bat following his fine recent showings for Hampshire in the Royal London One-Day Cup.

Vince (l) could feature for England on Tuesday.

Vince (l) could feature for England on Tuesday.

PAKISTAN DEALT AMIR BLOW

Eyebrows had been raised after Pakistan pacer Mohammad Amir was omitted from the playing XI for the second ODI given how the series remains his final chance to work his way back into the 2019 World Cup squad.

However, it is now reported that the left-armed pacer is down with chicken pox and that means he is a certainty to miss the Bristol clash as well.

Question marks remain over Amir’s availability for the fourth and fifth ODIs but this latest setback has come at just the wrong time for the Pakistan pacer. Having endured a torrid time in limited-overs cricket since the end of the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy, Amir would have hoped to impress under the swinging conditions in England.

Now, time is running out for him to stake a claim for a spot in Pakistan’s World Cup squad.

A big setback to Amir's 2019 World Cup hopes.

A big setback to Amir’s 2019 World Cup hopes.

CHANCE FOR ASIF ALI TO PUSH WORLD CUP CLAIM

While Amir’s World Cup hopes have taken a big blow, there is still an opportunity for Asif Ali to further strengthen his claim.

Like Amir, Asif too has not been picked in Pakistan’s preliminary World Cup squad but his latest display at Southampton would have done his chances of making the final cut no harm.

With the lack of a big finisher down the order among Pakistan’s current white-ball cricket woes, Asif’s quick-fire fifty in the second ODI was a breath of fresh air.

The right-hander nearly pulled off the improbable for Pakistan with his first half-century in nine ODI innings and another big display in the remainder of the series could very well see the 27-year-old get a ticket for the World Cup.

Asif Ali struck a fine 36-ball 51 in the second ODI.

Asif Ali struck a fine 36-ball 51 in the second ODI.

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