England face Pakistan in T20 World Cup warm-up series

If being World Cup holders didn’t add enough pressure, all eyes will be on England this summer as they look to put a disastrous 50-over World Cup campaign behind them.

Matthew Mott and Jos Buttler’s side looked toothless in India last autumn and will be looking to avoid embarrassment when the T20 edition commences next month. In preparation for the tournament, they’ll face Pakistan in a four-match series on home soil in what will be a rematch of the final that saw England become world champions in 2022.

England v Pakistan T20 series

●    Wednesday 22nd May – Headingley
●    Saturday 25th May – Edgbaston
●    Tuesday 28th May – Sophia Gardens
●    Thursday 30th May – Kia Oval

With the weather finally changing for the better, we’re set for four days of glorious cricket and you can enjoy the action from the best seats in the house with Engage’s exclusive hospitality packages. And if you’re in the mood for more cricket, there are plenty more opportunities to watch in style later in the year.

The four matches will give us a good indication of what to expect when the World Cup kicks off in June. The 15-man provisional squad has already been selected but with the official deadline not for another few weeks, England’s managing director Rob Key has stressed that there could still be changes.

Pakistan are also looking to build some momentum as they prepare for the World Cup. They performed slightly better than England in India last autumn despite losing to them, winning four of their matches, but they only finished fifth, narrowly missing out on a spot in the semi-finals.

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Archer returns but Stokes misses out

While England will be looking to knock themselves into form, one man will be using the warm-up games to prove his fitness. After more than a year in the wilderness due to a long-term elbow injury, Jofra Archer is set to make his return to the international stage.

The fast bowler was a key part of England’s 50-over World Cup win in 2019 but he missed out on the T20 format. Archer was also absent for last summer’s thrilling Ashes series with Australia and following England’s dismal showing on their last World Cup appearance, Buttler will be hoping the 29-year-old’s return can galvanise his side.

Elsewhere, Chris Jordan is also back in the squad after missing out on the winter tour to the West Indies. The bowler has been picked ahead of Chris Woakes, while Jamie Overton misses out with injury. Spin bowler Tom Hartley is also included, despite never playing for England in a T20 international.

At the top of the order, England look strong with the likes of Buttler, Jonny Bairstow and Will Jacks all impressive with the bat in the IPL. For so long, England have relied on Ben Stokes to rescue them with some magic but somebody else will have to step up this time. The Test captain will not be on the plane having asked not to be considered as he recovers from a knee operation.

As England look to mix things up in an effort to avoid a repeat of what happened in India, one casualty is Dawid Malan. The experienced batsman struggled at the World Cup and misses out on the squad.

While in previous years these warm-up games would have been seen as just that, this time it’s different. England are a force in world cricket and they’ll be desperate to prove just that heading into the World Cup. Poor results against Pakistan may not mean anything in theory, but they could have disastrous consequences if they breed another embarrassing campaign.

Provisional England T20 squad

Jos Buttler (c), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Harry Brook, Sam Curran, Ben Duckett, Tom Hartley, Will Jacks, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingstone, Adil Rashid, Phil Salt, Reece Topley, Mark Wood.

When is the T20 World Cup?

The tournament in the West Indies and USA gets underway on Sunday 2nd June, with the American hosts taking on neighbours Canada in the opening fixture. England will also be facing local rivals in their first game and there will no doubt be plenty of sun cream in use as they face Scotland in Barbados.

Buttler and co. will also play Oman and Namibia in the group stage, as well as old rivals Australia, who won the 50-over World Cup last year. Meanwhile, Pakistan will face hosts USA, India, Canada and Ireland.

They’re targeting their second T20 World Cup win, having claimed the trophy in the competition’s second edition, beating Sri Lanka in the final at Lord’s back in 2009. They’ve lost twice in the final, including against England last time out.

Should England progress through their group, they’ll need to navigate their way through the Super 8s group, followed by the semi-finals. The final takes place on Saturday 29th June.