Talismanic all-rounder Andrew Flintoff's absence has severely dented England's prospects and given Pakistan the edge in their crucial group match in the Twenty20 World Championships on Sunday, feels Shoaib Malik.
England were shocked by minnows The Netherlands in their opening match and must win against Pakistan to remain in the tournament as a defeat will knock the hosts out of the competition at The Oval.
Flintoff is recuperating from a knee surgery and will remain out of action for the entire duration of the event.
Malik said Flintoff's absence has neutralised the home advantage that Paul Collingwood's men have.
"Although England have a slight advantage over us due to home conditions but Flintoff's absence has tilted the balance between the two teams. But obviously England will have tremendous support when they play us on Sunday," Malik said.
Malik also played down Pakistan's losses to South Africa and India in the warm-up matches and attributed the setbacks to the team's late arrival in England.
"We played poor cricket in the two matches we lost but we are gradually improving and getting accustomed to the conditions and I am sure we can start with a win on Sunday," Malik said.