The Sophia Gardens Stadium in Cardiff is ready to host the first ODI of the three-match series between England and Pakistan, starting on Thursday (July 08).

Right before the start of the series, the hosts received a major setback as three players and four staff members of the team have been tested positive for Covid-19. Therefore, the England and Wales Board (ECB) had to announce a revised team featuring Ben Stokes as captain instead of Eoin Morgan with as many as nine uncapped players.

On the other hand, Pakistan is a much stronger side than England’s recent opponents Sri Lanka. Babar Azam and Co. will look to capitalise on the relatively inexperienced English side to gain some important points in the World Cup Super League.

Pitch report:

In the T20Is played between England and Sri Lanka, the surface at Cardiff provided much assistance to the seamers. If a similar track is on the offer again, one may expect bowlers to dominate the proceedings.

Head to Head record:

Matches played: 88 | England Won: 53 | Pakistan Won: 32 | Tied: 0 | No result: 3

Playing Combination:

England:

In the absence of some senior players, it is expected that England will field all the experienced players from the updated squad. Along with skipper Stokes, Dawid Malan, James Vince and Craig Overton will get the place. There could be a toss-up between Matt Parkinson and Danny Briggs if England goes for only one spinner.

ENG XI: Zak Crawley, James Vince, Dawid Malan, Ben Stokes (c), Dan Lawrence, Ben Duckett (wk), Lewis Gregory, Craig Overton, Saqib Mahmood, Jake Ball, Matt Parkinson/Danny Briggs.

Pakistan:

Some familiar names like Babar, Mohammad Rizwan, Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq will hold the batting responsibility. Similarly, Shaheen Afridi, Hasan Ali and Haras Rauf will lead the fast bowling attack.

PAK XI: Babar Azam (c), Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Faheem Ashraf, Shaheen Afridi, Hasan Ali, Haris Rauf, Sohaib Maqsood.

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