Thirty years since Pakistan met England in a Melbourne World Cup final – it’s almost like I’ve borrowed the Delorean belonging to Michael J Fox and arrived back at the MCG in 1992!
Pakistan have repeated history by knocking out New Zealand to get to the final.
In the other semi-final, England beat India so badly it may take some time for their opponents to recover. It’s hard to be more impressed with both teams’ performances in midweek to get to this game.
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It’s not hard to understand why England are strong favourites. Their two opening batsmen were off the scale against India. Between Jos Buttler and Alex Hales they’ve scored over 400 runs, and look to attack from the very first ball. The conditions – cold and overcast – suit them too. They’ve a good, varied attack, and even with losing Mark Wood for the semi, Chris Jordan was excellent taking three wickets.
As for Pakistan, they remain a mystery wrapped in a riddle, inside an enigma. I just can’t work them out. But this is when, perhaps, they are at their most dangerous. Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan will be delighted that no one is giving them a chance. They fielded like their lives depended on it against New Zealand and strangled the life out of the Kiwi batters.
Can they go to the well one last time? They’ll need Shadab Khan to be at his brilliant best and Shaheen Afridi to show again why he’s one of the best bowlers in the world.
The big elephant in the room is the weather. At present it’s looking more like conditions to collect animals two-by-two and not to be playing cricket. The ICC have a reserve day on Monday to try and get a match played and have even tweaked their own rules, which now mean a minimum of 10 overs per side will have to be played to determine a result.
This trader has said all along that England can’t win this World Cup and did enjoy a smug grin when they lost to Ireland. Now, is it time to board the train along with the Barmy Army? No, I’m going to sit on the fence and enjoy the game.
All I will say is if England are to win, Alex Hales will surely be the reason why. The opener to be their top runscorer is my NAP for the game.
*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change
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