While Pakistan were successful in competing against England on equal terms, the first ODI at The Rose Bowl made it aptly clear that the visitors will have a tough time when it comes to overcoming England in the one-day format. Both on form as well as talent, England are way ahead of Pakistan. As such, England would head into the second ODI at Lord's at favourites as well. But, Pakistan is one side you can never take for granted in any format. England found that out in the Tests when they were stung by the visitors in two matches. They will be keen to repeat their Lord's magic.
In the first ODI, England came up with a complete all-round effort, shining with both the bat and the ball. On comeback, fast bowler Mark Wood was highly impressive ramping it up. England will hope he stays injury-free and continues to shine for the team. Liam Plunkett, the other pace bowler, also bowled with vigour. As a pair, they would be keen to create more trouble for Pakistan's batsmen. Chris Woakes, the third pace bowler, also continued his great form from the Tests. His performance has been a big plus for England.
While they were chasing only 261, England still needed a couple of players to come up with decent knocks. And, things worked out well as both Jason Roy and Joe Root came up with fluent fifties. Skipper Eoin Morgan and Ben Stokes, who played as a pure batsman, did not look in great touch, but the time spent out in the middle should definitely do good to their confidence. Lower down the order, Jos Buttler wasn't needed, and England still managed to overhaul the Duckworth Lewis score without trouble. The form of Alex Hales is what will be worrying England most at the present though.
For Pakistan, it will be imperative for their batsmen to pick up their game. Skipper Azhar Ali returned to form with a stupendous half-century, which would please him and the team no end. Sarfraz Ahmed and Babar Azam also chipped in with decent scores. But, at least one of them needed to carry on. Further, the lack of form of the experienced Mohammad Hafeez is hurting them. They desperately need Hafeez to come up with a good effort. The other Pakistan opener Sharjeel Khan got a fantastic hundred against Ireland, but he struggled in the first ODI. He too will need to stand up and make an impression.
Pakistan's bowlers could not make much of an impact against England in the first one-dayer. It did not help that they did not have much to bowl at, and that the English batsmen are in fine form. The bowlers will have to perform much better in the second game. Mohammad Amir will have to pick up his game as he hasn't been at his best in the series. Like in the Tests, Yasir Shah will be the key in the one-dayers as well. He will look for support from the likes of Wahab Riaz and Imad Wasim.
--By A Cricket Analyst