Hello. The last-chance saloon is Pakistan’s second home. They’ve got an en-suite upstairs and they get free peanuts from the bar staff. It’s a place where everybody knows their name, and they’re always glad they came. That’s because there’s no more exhilarating sight in cricket than Pakistan on a roll, whether within a match or a tournament. All their major victories – 1992, 2009, 2017 – came after poor starts left them in the last-chance saloon. And so, unlike ANOTHER TEAM I MIGHT MENTION, they won’t panic at being back there again.
Everything is simple for Pakistan: if they win their last three matches, against New Zealand, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, they have a terrific chance of sneaking into the semi-finals. (There are lots of permutations, so you’ll have to take my word for that.) Today’s match is the big one – if they win it, I would humbly opine that England will be in appreciable bother. And Pakistan will be strutting round the last-chance saloon like they own the place.
The match starts at 10.30am, a wet outfield permitting.