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Twenty20 - Cricket: Pakistan v England fifth T20I preview

It's 2-2 after four T20s between Pakistan and England and all to play for as these two well-matched teams head to Lahore for match five of what is turning into a thrilling series.

There was nothing between Pakistan and England in four absorbing contests under the lights in Karachi where Moeen Ali's tourists twice went ahead in the series only to be pulled back each time.

It's 10/11 Pakistan and 10/11 England to win the series as the sides arrive at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore for the first of the final three games.

What's next in series thriller?

WhatPakistan vs England, 5th Twenty20 Match
WhereGaddafi Stadium, Lahore
When15:30, Wednesday 28th September, 2022
How to watchSky Sports Main Event & Cricket
OddsPakistan, 10/11 England 10/11

The vagaries of international T20 cricket - and the risks associated with betting on it - are clearer than ever after a fantastic week in Karachi.

England, playing their first match in Pakistan since 2005, went one up with a fairly routine and well-ordered run chase.

Pakistan immediately hit back with the record highest successful run chase without losing a wicket.

England, unfazed, walloped their hosts by 63 runs in match three before all kinds of drama unfolded in game four, with Pakistan eventually tip-toeing to victory.

Drawing firm and fast conclusions from any of that isn't easy, though one prediction we surely can make with confidence is that Lahore, like Karachi, will feature a low, slow wicket.

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Indeed, the average first-innings score in 11 Twenty 20 internationals at the National Stadium is 189; it's just 166 at the Gaddafi Stadium. There have been eight 200-plus scores in those 11 matches in Karachi, most recently England's 221-3 on Friday. In 15 matches in Lahore, no side has yet piled up 200.

Even the toss doesn't seemingly have a huge advantage at the Gaddafi Stadium where eight chases in 15 matches have proved successful, seven have not.

England have Malan call to make

England are in full experimentation mode less than a month before they play their first World T20 match against Afghanistan in Perth, so there will be changes from the fourth game in Karachi.

One change that didn't come off in the fourth T20 was the resting of Dawid Malan, though that doesn't necessarily make him an automatic recall in game five.

Malan, the world's top-ranked T20I player not so long ago, was omitted after making just 34 runs in the first three matches, though Will Jacks, his replacement at three, registered a three-ball duck as England were reduced to 14-3.

That was a sobering follow-up to a wonderful 22-ball 40 on debut in game three and it's Jacks, rather than Malan, who seems to fit the fearless, rope-clearing, free-hitting stereotype which England want at the top of the order.

Malan is 10/3 to be England's top batter at the Gaddafi Stadium though the claims of the likes of Alex Hales, Jacks, Ben Duckett and Harry Brook look more solid - though taking a punt on any of them means taking a punt on the make-up of a very fluid-looking top six.

Pace aces still key in Lahore

A slow, low wicket is expected in Lahore and the stats suggest runs aren't exactly plentiful, though pace bowlers are having a huge impact in this series and should continue to do so.

Mark Wood's comeback in game three where he clocked 97 mph taking 3-24 was a reminder of both his pace and hostility and he can ruffle the feathers of Pakistan's settled top order.

He was left out in game four and there was little control from the pacemen - even in a low-scoring match, Reece Topley and Olly Stone both went at nine an over with Adil Rashid providing the only real control.

Haris Rauf has been the pick of the Pakistan pace attack, bowling beautifully and threateningly with a tournament-high six wickets and a more than creditable economy rate of 7.75. Rauf is 3/1 to be Pakistan's top bowler in the match.

Interestingly, six bowlers in the series have economy rates of eight or less to show for their work - and five are English.

That might suggest Pakistan's batsmen are building innings in a more measured way, but it also suggests that England have more effective bowling tools at their disposal. And that, in a low-scorer, could well be the difference between victory and defeat.

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