Pakistan vs England predictions: Hosts to bounce back
In their first tour of Pakistan in 17 years, England have started their seven-match Twenty20 series with the Men in Green on the front foot.
The tourists ran out six-wicket winners at the National Stadium in Karachi on Tuesday, chasing down Pakistan's total of 158-7 with four balls to spare.
The teams will now lock horns in the second match of the series at the same venue on Thursday.
Hales impresses on England return
Undoubtedly the main talking point from England's opening T20 with Pakistan was the performance of Alex Hales.
Off-field issues meant Hales was dropped from England's limited-overs squad back in 2019, but he returned to the fold after a three-year exile following a loss of form from opener Jason Roy and a serious injury sustained by Jonny Bairstow.
And Hales showed selectors exactly what he can offer England ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia, firing 53 runs off 40 balls.
It was a composed performance, focused on timing and placement, and Hales struck seven fours on his way to the half-century.
Do not write off Pakistan
With the T20 World Cup on the horizon, victory in the first match of this T20 series will act as a real confidence-booster for England, who were led by Moeen Ali in the absence of regular captain Jos Buttler.
And while the team has a fresh look to it with the inclusion of Alex Hales, Luke Wood and Harry Brook among others, it is hard to ignore the 2-1 series defeats to India and South Africa earlier in the summer.
Pakistan could well come back with a vengeance in this series and it is worth remembering they were semi-finalists at last year's World Cup and only recently finished as runners-up at the Asia Cup, so they should not be written off.
In-form Rizwan can go well again
Mohammad Rizwan has been a picture of consistency for Pakistan recently and he showed no sign of slowing down in the T20 series opener against England.
Rizwan set the tone in Karachi with a score of 68, featuring eight boundaries, and looks more dangerous than Babar Azam right now.
Rizwan was the overall top run-scorer at the recent Asia Cup, scoring 281 runs, and England will be well aware stopping him will be key to preventing a Pakistan comeback.
England laid down a marker with victory in Karachi, but even with new players drafted into the squad, they are too inconsistent right now and that opening match should have acted as a wake-up call for Pakistan.
With Rizwan in terrific form and Azam always a threat, Asia Cup runners-up Pakistan can make home advantage count this time around and should be fancied to level the series with victory in the second match.
In terms of individuals, Hales was a force for Trent Rockets in The Hundred earlier this summer and showed technical excellence when scoring 53 last time out, so he could prove to be England's top run-scorer once again in Karachi.
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