The ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 is less than four weeks away and the contests between England and Pakistan are important for both teams in their preparation. However, the first ODI at the Kennington Oval in London was marred by rain and a wet outfield as the match ended in a no-result. The start of the match was itself delayed due to a persistent drizzle and the game was reduced to 47 overs per side. England won the toss and chose to bowl and Jofra Archer showed his mettle. In a fiery opening spell, Archer troubled both Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman with pace, bounce and swing. After building the pressure, Archer accounted for Zaman for 3 as the batsman edged to Joe Root at slip. His first spell read 4-2-6-1.
Babar Azam and Imam tried to steady the ship and both looked to play out the tough conditions but Liam Plunkett got rid of the in-form Azam for 10 as Pakistan struggled. Imam and Haris Sohail batted confidently but another sharp rain break for 30 minutes reduced the match to 41 overs per side. After resumption, Jos Buttler missed Sohail’s stumping off Adil Rashid but the heavens opened up yet again.
This time, the rain break was long and despite the weather clearing, there were some patches on the outfield which worried the umpires. The wet patches and the heavy outfield resulted in a prolonged delay and after one hour, the match was called off. England will now take on Pakistan in the second ODI of the series at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton and the weather is expected to be much clearer.
England is hosting the ICC Cricket World Cup for the first time since 1999 while they will also host the five-Test Ashes series against Australia immediately after the tournament. England will start the campaign against South Africa at The Oval on May 30 and the hosts will be aiming to win the World Cup in front of their home fans for the first time after ending up on the losing side in the finals for three editions.