Pakistan v England second T20: Liam Plunkett proves a point
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | November 26, 2015
Pakistan v England
- Second T20 International
- Friday, November 27th
- Play begins: 16:00 GMT
- Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Live on Sky Sports 2
Top Billings for experimental England
Many commentators questioned England’s decision to rest Joe Root and Jos Buttler for the first Twenty20 international against Pakistan in Dubai, but understudy glovesman Sam Billings stepped up.
Recovering from 19-3, short form cricket captain Eoin Morgan’s partnerships with T20 debutant James Vince (74) and then the Kent keeper (65 from 35) set their nominal hosts a target of 161 to win. Pakistan fell 15 runs short, all out for 146.
With the second game of this series coming hot off the back of the opener, Coral rate England odds-on at 8/11 for another win which will give them an insurmountable lead. Pakistan are 11/10 to level the score, and make the third T20 in Sharjah a decider.
Billings and Vince vital to victory
Racking up England’s second-fastest Twenty20 half century off just 24 balls, Billings surprised everyone before being ran out for 53 with the final ball of their innings. He is a 9/2 chance to replicate this fine form by being best with the bat for the tourists again.
Hampshire hitter Vince, meanwhile, put together an encouraging 41 off 36 deliveries and is a 4/1 chance to be England’s top batsman, or alternatively he features in a super 7/1 wincast.
England skipper Morgan, meanwhile, is a little short at 7/2 in the best batsman market with Pakistan dropping a couple of catches during his 45 not out innings, though his support of new names is notable.
The tourists need more from top order batsmen Alex Hales and Jason Roy, so punters will have to wait and see if Trevor Bayliss makes a selection switch here. The bowling was good, however, reducing Pakistan to 42-4 and 74-7.
Ali agony, Parry and Plunkett perform
Moeen Ali’s hot and cold tour of the United Arab Emirates continued, though, in the first Twenty20, out for a duck with the bat and then expensive bowling figures of 1-30. Only Chris Jordan’s poor spell of 0-37 was worse.
Lancashire slow left-armer Stephen Parry, meanwhile, put together an encouraging 2-33, and is a temptingly long 9/2 to be best England bowler on a pitch where he had some joy. Taking Mohammad Rizwan clean caught the eye.
Reece Topley’s 3-24 was topped only by Liam Plunkett, who was a virtual spectator in the UAE before being given the nod in the opening T20, with 3-21.
Bayliss leaving him out of the Test squad that tours South Africa this winter has certainly elicited a response from Yorkshire medium-fast pacer Plunkett, who is 7/2 to repeat as England’s best with the ball here.
Pakistan missing Malik
Shoaib Malik was a notable injury absentee for Pakistan and, while a ninth wicket stand gave them hope of reaching what was an achievable target, their top order was poor without him.
Left-handed all-rounder Sohail Tanvir proved the nominal hosts’ best player in Dubai, following up respectable 2-31 bowling figures with an unbeaten 25 at the crease alongside fellow southpaw Wahab Riaz.
At 7/2 to be best Pakistan bowler again, Tanvir is well worth a wager, but he’s a big price at 50/1 to repeat as their top batsman.
Sohaib Maqsood could be the hitter to back at 9/2 after 24 off 16 balls, while Mohammad Irfan may need to be recalled in attack.
Check out our cricket content.