Pakistan will have to prove that their stunning win over hosts England was no flash in the pan at Pakistan v Sri Lanka Encounter in the 11th game of the ICC World Cup at the County Ground in Bristol on June 7.
A lackluster Pakistan lost their opening game against the West Indies by 7 wickets on May 31. They were bundled out for 105 runs in 21.4 overs by the Windies and looked beaten and dusted. The green brigade, however, turned the tables on hot favorites and hosts England in a thriller at Trent Bridge on June 3.
Batting first Pakistan rose like a phoenix from the ashes thanks to a splendid batting display from Babar Azam (63) and Captain Sarfaraz Ahmed’s 55. But the man of the match winning performance from Mohammad Hafeez who belted 84 runs from 62 deliveries with 8 fours and 2 sixes was the defining moment in the Pakistan innings.
With the ball, Wahab Riaz with 3 wickets blazed through the English bastion. Shadab Khan and Mohammad Amir with 2 wickets each helped Pakistan end an 11 match losing streak.
Like Pakistan, Sri Lanka too had similar fortunes at this edition of the ICC World Cup as they lost their opening fixture against New Zealand by 10 wickets at the Sofia Garden in Cardiff on June 1. Sri Lanka too was bundled out cheaply buy the Kiwis for 139 in 29.2 overs.
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In their second game against Afghanistan, Sri Lanka managed to pocket a win thanks to a rain-interrupted encounter at Cardiff. The Lankans won by 34 runs courtesy the Duckworth Lewis Method. In a rain-reduced 41 overs the Islanders put up 201 all out in 36.5 overs.
28-year-old Wicketkeeper batsman, Kusal Perera top scored with 78 off 81 balls which had 8 hits to the fence. 34-year-old Right arm off break bowler Mohammad Nabi notched up 4 wickets while Dawlat Zadran took 2 wickets.
Afghanistan were set a revised target of 187 runs from 41 overs by the DLM. The story of the Afghan inexperience was evident as Najibullah Zadran top scored with 43 runs before the Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne hit the stumps directly for a runout.
Nuwan Pradeep was the wrecker in chief as he rattled 4 wickets while veteran pacestar Lasith Malinga struck thrice to fold the Afghans for 153 all out in 32.4 overs.
Head to Head:
Pakistan has played no other team as many times as they have played Sri Lanka in ODI format of the game. In total the two have faced each other in 153 Matches where Pakistan won on 90 occasions and Sri Lanka on 58 encounters. The two have remained tied once and the match ended with a result on four occasions.
Predictions and Expectations:
Pakistan are favorites to win their tie against Sri Lanka at Bristol. They will heavily back on their pace attack especially Wahab Riaz, Shadab Khan and Mohammad Amir.
A lot will be required from their batting order as the Lankans have proved that they possess capable firepower against Afghanistan. Captain Sarfaraz Ahmed will bank on Babar Azam and Mohammad Hafeez to keep the run rate going but openers will have to stand their ground.
While both teams have lost their first tie and come back to win their second fixture, Sri Lanka, will have to bring out their best against Pakistan if they aspire to be in the race for the top four semifinal spots. Their top order has to get their act together especially after the debacle against New Zealand and the scare the Afghanistan bowlers gave them in Cardiff.
Captain Karunaratne, Perera, Thirimanne and Mathews will have to work as a team and build an innings against the legends of pace attack Pakistan. Nuwan Pradeep and veteran Lasith Malinga must take wickets at regular intervals and deny the Pakistan batsmen any chances to settle down at Pakistan v Sri Lanka Encounter.
CWC 2019 Teams for Pakistan v Sri Lanka Encounter
Sri Lanka Men’s Cricket Team: Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Jeevan Mendis, Kusal Mendis (wk), Kusal Perera (wk), Suranga Lakmal, Avishka Fernando, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Pradeep, Dhananjaya de Silva, Milinda Siriwardana, Lahiru Thirimanne, Jeffrey Vandersay, Isuru Udana.
Pakistan Men’s Cricket Team: Sarfaraz Ahmed (c, wk), Babar Azam, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Amir, Asif Ali,Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Imam-ul-Haq, Shadab Khan, Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Imad Wasim.