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Champions Trophy 2017, Pakistan vs England: Bairstow Likely to Replace Roy at the Top

Reuters |June 14, 2017, 12:37 PM IST
Champions Trophy 2017, Pakistan vs England: Bairstow Likely to Replace Roy at the Top

Cardiff: England are considering changing their top order for the Champions Trophy semi-final against Pakistan, captain Eoin Morgan said on Tuesday, indicating that they will replace out-of-form opener Jason Roy with Jonny Bairstow.

SQUADS: England Team: Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan(c), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler(wk), Moeen Ali, Steven Finn, Liam Plunkett, Mark Wood, Jake Ball, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Billings, Adil Rashid, David Willey

Pakistan Team: Sarfraz Khan (c and wk), Ahmed Shehzad, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Junaid Khan, Mohammed Amir, Mohammed Hafeez, Shadab Khan and Shoaib Malik.

"There is a chance there will be a change," said Morgan of Wednesday's game. "Jonny Bairstow is our next man in line. He is a very fine batsman. One thing he does exceptionally well is deal with no baggage.

"He comes in and wants to prove everyone wrong the whole time, it's been a huge attribute in him scoring runs when he has had a chance."

South African-born Roy, who watched Tuesday's net session with arms folded from the sidelines, has scored 51 runs in eight ODIs this summer and was dismissed second ball in England's final group game against Australia.

England have previously insisted that players would be allowed to bat themselves back into form.

"Everyone goes through a bad run and that's expected," Morgan said of Roy. "If someone happens to miss out then they're not going to be too far away from our plans in the future."

Bairstow is in prime form after striking a career-best 174 off 113 balls while opening for his county Yorkshire against Durham last month. But the 27-year-old has never filled the role in an ODI and they could decide to juggle the order and promote Moeen Ali.

Either way England, the only unbeaten team in the tournament, will go into the game as favourites after winning 11 out of 12 ODIs and posting in excess of 300 in five of the past six matches in which they have batted first.

While Roy has failed, every other batsman has hit form with Alex Hales (151), Joe Root (212), Eoin Morgan (175) and Ben Stokes (150) among the top 11 tournament run scorers.

In 47 ODIs since their abject failure at the 2015 World Cup England batsmen have scored 25 centuries, compared with 22 in 88 matches during the previous four years.

Pakistan came into the tournament as the eighth-ranked team and are highly unpredictable, only just qualifying for the last four by beating Sri Lanka by three wickets in a see-saw game on Monday.

But Morgan will be wary of a side who clearly relish conditions in Cardiff where last year they chased down a target of 303 to beat England, with Sarfraz Ahmed, their hero against Sri Lanka, hitting 90.

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3778 105
5 Australia 2640 98
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6745 125
2 India 7071 122
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
5 South Africa 5193 110
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 India 8099 261
5 Australia 5471 261
see more