Not long until the start of the 2019 World Cup which returns to the motherland of Cricket: England. It is safe to say that there is a near unanimous consensus that pitches are expected to be flat and batting friendly, and we can expect 300 plus being scored regularly in this year’s mega event.
The average score per innings in Royal London 50 over cup tournament so far is 260 with 300 plus being scored a whopping 19 times and 400 plus being scored three times in 37 matches so far.
However each venue presents subtle differences. Here is the overview of each of the grounds where Pakistan’s World Cup matches are scheduled:
Trent Bridge (Nottingham)
Vs West Indies (May 31, 2019)
Vs England (June 03, 2019)
The site of Pakistan’s first two matches against West Indies and England. It’s the flattest cricket ground in England. Interestingly, the boundary on the western side of the ground is smaller than the other. Batsmen have exploited this and we’ve seen colossal totals being scored. Trent Bridge is famous for high scoring games like 400 plus being scored in same match by two teams in Royal London Cup this year. While the highest ever ODI total 482 and second highest ODI total 444 was also scored at the same venue by England in 2018 and 2016 respectively.
What to Expect
Expecting a batting shootout and given Pakistan are outmatched for power hitting, it’ll take a huge bowling effort to restrict Windies and England’s big hitters. 300 will be considered as a PAR score on this ground.
County Ground (Bristol)
Vs Sri Lanka (June 07, 2019)
It’s the same cricket ground where Pakistan played first ever T20I versus England in 2006. Pakistan will be playing Sri Lanka at Bristol in this World Cup. This ground has hosted only 16 ODIs in total. The last time an ODI was played here; England scored 369 v West Indies in 2017. Pakistan last played an ODI at Bristol in 1999 Cricket World Cup, when Men in Green beat West Indies in a low scoring thriller.
What to Expect
Batting first will be the key here and it is reasonable to expect an even battle between bat and ball.
Vs Australia (June, 12 2019)
Surprisingly one of the smallest grounds in England has been allocated a big game between Pakistan and Australia. It’s the flattest and one of the most spin friendly pitches in England, with the likes of Jack Leach and Dom Bess emerging from Somerset’s home ground. This is where Pakistan would want to maximize overs from Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan and Mohammad Hafeez. Theoretically that should suit Pakistan but the batsmen must understand 300 would just be par here.
What to Expect
Expect a high scoring game between Australia and Pakistan. But spin will also play a huge part so the team with a solid spin department will hold an edge.
Old Trafford (Manchester)
Vs India (June 16, 2019)
This venue will host the fifth and most high profile fixture of Pakistan’s group stage game against India. It’s the ground where both teams met in 1999 Cricket World Cup, when Pakistan botched a chase of 227. It’s the fastest and bounciest wicket in England, where Pakistan possesses a miserable record losing 6 out of 8 ODIs and their archrivals won three games out of eight.
What to Expect
Expect a low scoring thriller between arch-rivals. In the last three ODI games played there, no team passed 220-run mark with 210 being the highest score. Spin will play a part too so expect both teams to play spin heavy bowling lineup.
Vs South Africa (June 23, 2019)
Vs Bangladesh (July 05, 2019)
Pakistan will face South Africa and Bangladesh at the Home of Cricket. A happy hunting ground for Pakistan in Tests but home to two major ODI calamities – the 1999 World Cup final and 2001 NatWest Series final where Pakistan won the toss both times, chose to bat both times, and were cheaply dismissed both times by Australia. Pakistan have a mixed record winning four games out of 11.
What to Expect: Batting first will be tricky there as numerous domestic one day finals at Lord’s seeing teams batting first bowled out for low totals. Pakistan were reduced to 3/3 in their last ODI here v England in 2016, and England had a horror show v South Africa in 2017 when they were reduced to 20/6 on a green wicket. Consider chasing at the Home of cricket.
Vs New Zealand (26th June 2019)
Pakistan will be playing New Zealand at Edgbaston. Pakistan usually get raucous support in Birmingham where they have a mixed record, winning five from 13 ODIs, including a tense 2004 Champions Trophy game versus India and an exhilarating bowling performance against South Africa in CT17. The average total batting first since 2010 is 256.
What to Expect: Pitch is expected to be a bit dry so spinners and reverse swing will also come into the play. Pakistan will hold an advantage in this game.
Vs Afghanistan (29th June 2019)
Pakistan goes back up North to Leeds for their penultimate group game against Afghanistan. Leeds often conjures up an image of a medium pacer’s paradise. However numbers don’t back up the myth as since 2010, the average score batting first is 291. Afghanistan’s strength is spin but can expect little assistance from the surface.
What to Expect: Expect seamers to play a huge role in this game. Pakistan will hold an advantage over Afghanistan due to superior seam department.
Pakistan will have the benefit of acclimatizing earlier to English conditions with an ODI series against England and few warm-up games before World Cup.
This year, the green team has a stable and competitive unit with them. Pakistan boasts of a good mix of youth and experience. The batting, bowling and fielding department looks formidable on the paper. But how they translate their talents in front of the world on the biggest stage still remains to be seen.