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Cricket (ICC Champions Trophy): Pakistan vs. England
Odds: Pakistan +225, England -300
Pick: England X
Pakistan were quoted as “beyond horrendous” in their first match and benefited from a rain delay turned cancelation in their second match when the Duckworth-Lewis method was applied (calculates target score for a team batting second when a match is interrupted by weather) and they were credited with a 19-run win. Pakistan advanced to face England in the knockout stage after a good bowling effort coupled with a poor fielding effort from Sri Lanka helped them through.
One of the lowest ranked teams entering the 8-team tournament, Pakistan have surprised numerous pundits and followers of the sport. They were projected to have a Group Stage exit by most and have had a good bit of fortune in their matches to get to this stage.
On the other side of things, England, hosts of this tournament, were given great odds to make the final and even win the tournament before it all started. Now, they’re neck-and-neck favorites with India to win the tournament (England at +130, India at +125). Meanwhile, Pakistan are +650 to win it all.
If England bat first, this match will likely be all but over before it starts. (If you’re willing to stay up until or wake up in the early morning, check who will be first to bat – if it’s England, go forward with even greater confidence). Pakistan’s batting is not one of their strengths and they will have a hard time giving chase with England, considering England consistently tend to put up 300+ runs. The stats don’t favor Pakistan, as they’ve only chased 250+ runs 3/10 times since 2015. Even if Pakistan get to bat first, they’ll have to play with the mindset that they need to get near or over 300 runs to have a decent chance. England have a deeper and better batting lineup than Pakistan and have been 20 runs better than the Pakistanis on average per match since the 2015 World Cup (averaging 1st innings run average and average successful chase [batting 2nd] together).
From what I’ve seen and heard on this match, Pakistan would have to put together a magnificent performance and England would have to be uncharacteristically poor for Pakistan to advance to the final.