A member of the Pakistan staff has reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the second T20I at the National Stadium in Karachi on Thursday (September 22). Despite the setback, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have stated that the match will go ahead as planned.
Babar Azan’s side lost their third consecutive T20I contest after England came out as winners in the first T20I on Tuesday (September 20). Despite Mohammad Rizwan’s heroics with the bat, the hosts could only post 158-7 on the board, which was chased down with four balls to spare.
The side are currently battling issues with the middle order, with raging debates surrounding their approach to T20 cricket. The Men in Green recently announced their squad for the T20 World Cup 2022 and senior members like Fakhar Zaman and Sarfaraz Ahmed failed to seal a spot.
The ongoing tour marks England’s first trip to Pakistan in 17 years. The two sides were slated to play a T20I series last year. However, the tour was abandoned due to security concerns as well as players’ mental and physical welfare.
According to the Future Tours Programme (FTP) for the 2018-23 cycle, England’s tour of the subcontinent was set to feature five ODIs in early 2023.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic, which shuffled the timeline of the ICC events, made the affair a seven-match T20I series. This makes it the joint highest bilateral T20 international series of all time.
“Our batters should have done better” – Pakistan captain Babar Azam on 1st T20I
On Tuesday, the hosts were well poised at the halfway stage of the first innings after an 85-run opening partnership between Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam. England pulled things back courtesy of a match-winning spell of 3-25 by debutant Luke Wood to restrict the side to a below-par total.
Stating that the batters should have made the most of the foundation, Babar Azam said in a post-match presentation:
“We utilized the batting powerplay well but we let the momentum slip after the 10th over. Credit to their bowlers, but we were not up to the mark and we didn’t get the partnerships. They worked out the conditions well, but our batters should have done better.
“We’re trying different combinations before the World Cup, we’ll test our bench strength and then go to the tournament with our best team.”
The second T20I between the two sides is scheduled to begin in a couple of hours at the National Stadium in Karachi. The visitors currently hold a 1-0 lead in the series.
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