Pakistan and England are all set to lock horns in the opener of a seven-match Twenty20 series at the National Stadium in Karachi today [Tuesday].
The match will start at 7pm PST today.
England are on their first tour of Pakistan for 17 years, in a series seen as part of the build-up towards the ICC’s Men Twenty20 World Cup scheduled for next month in Australia.
The tourists, on their first trip to the country since 2005, will play four of the seven matches in Karachi on September 20, 22, 23 and 25 and the remaining three at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on September 28, 30 and October 2.
England have an edge in the short format of the game with 14 wins in 21 matches and six defeats. The visitors got acclimatised to the city’s weather conditions by practising for four days at the National Stadium.
Batsman Babar Azam will lead the green shirts against England. He said that he hopes the series against England will help him return to his best scoring form, after a lean Asia Cup earlier this month.
The 27-year-old managed just 68 runs in six games in the United Arab Emirates, where Pakistan finished runners-up to Sri Lanka.
Meanwhile, England are led by allrounder Moeen Ali, who said that captaining England against Pakistan — where his family have roots — was a “huge and proud moment”.
Captain Jos Buttler has travelled with the squad but is nursing a calf injury, with Ali the stand-in skipper.
Birmingham-born Ali has captained England in T20s before but said leading the side on this tour was special.
“Obviously with my roots being from here and to lead England in such a big series, a historic series is a huge and proud moment,” Ali told reporters.
“My mum and dad, my friends and my family and community and everybody who I feel I represent is happy for me,” he added.
Pakistan to show solidarity with flood victims today
Pakistan cricket team will wear a specially-designed kit in today’s match to express solidarity with the flood victims of Pakistan.
Over 1,500 people have lost their lives and around 33 million have been affected by the flood that has hit one-third of the country.
To express solidarity with those affected by the floods, the Pakistan team will wear shirts with players’ names and shirt numbers displayed half submerged.
An official of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) confirmed that this design is created to express solidarity with people affected by the flood.
The PCB has already announced to donate all the receiving from the gate money of the first T20I to the Prime Minister’s Flood Relief Fund.
Pakistan captain Babar Azam has appealed to fans to come to the stadium and support the cause.
PCB also confirmed that the Sindh police has also invited 300 flood victims to witness the first T20I in Karachi.
Traffic plan issued
The local city administration has issued a traffic and parking plan to be implemented during the four matches, which are to be played in Karachi.
The plan has been formulated to ensure a smooth flow of traffic in the city during the matches played at the National Stadium Karachi from September 20 to 25.
England squad: Jos Buttler (Captain), Moeen Ali (Vice-Captain), Adil Rashid, Alex Hales, Ben Duckett, Chris Woakes, David Willey, Dawid Malan, Harry Brook, Jordan Cox, Liam Dawson, Luke Wood, Mark Wood, Olly Stone, Phil Salt, Reece Topley, Richard Gleeson, Sam Curran, Tom Helm and Will Jacks
Pakistan squad: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Aamir Jamal, Abrar Ahmed, Asif Ali, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Haris, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Naseem Shah, Shahnawaz Dahani, Shan Masood and Usman Qadir.
–Additional inputs from AFP