Date & Time: Friday, September 27, 15:30 IST
Venue: National Stadium, Karachi, Pakistan
Karachi braces for its first taste of ODI cricket in a decade.
This new dawn for Pakistan Cricket begins with a reinforcement of faith in Sarfaraz Ahmed, who was retained as captain based on the recommendations of Misbah, who was appointed as their new head coach and chief selector, and the PCB Cricket Committee, despite the failure to qualify for the World Cup semifinals. They also begin the new journey without their pace sensation Shaheen Afridi, who is out with a bout of dengue. Mohammad Nawaz, Iftikhar Ahmed and Mohammad Rizwan are making their returns.
Pakistan has dominated Sri Lanka in the recent past winning nine of the last 11 matches between the two teams including all of the last six.
Pakistan would’ve been favourites to start with anyway. They didn’t need the rain check from Sri Lanka’s most prominent players. Now, they’re overwhelming favourites against a ‘B’ team of an international team that’s not very good to begin with.
It is difficult to predict Sri Lanka’s XI, but Nuwan Pradeep may get a game owing to his experience. Lakshan Sandakan, the only specialist spinner in the squad, he is also likely to play.
Sri Lanka (possible): 1. Lahiru Thirimanne (capt), 2. Danushka Gunathilaka, 3. Avishka Fernando, 4. Sadeera Samarawickrama (wk), 5. Oshada Fernando, 6. Shehan Jayasuriya, 7. Dasun Shanaka, 8. Isuru Udana, 9. Wanindu Hasaranga, 10. Lakshan Sandakan, 11. Nuwan Pradeep
Pakistan batsman Asif Ali played only two World Cup matches, but may get an opportunity in this game. Left-arm seamer Usman Shinwari, who last played an ODI in March, could also get a game.
Pakistan (possible): 1. Fakhar Zaman, 2. Imam-ul-Haq, 3. Babar Azam, 4. Haris Sohail, 5. Sarfraz Ahmed (capt & wk), 6. Asif Ali, 7. Imad Wasim, 8. Shadab Khan, 9. Wahab Riaz, 10. Mohammad Amir, 11. Usman Shinwari
It has been raining heavily in the lead-up to the match, which means that there is a chance a wet outfield could frustrate play. When the game does start, a potentially undercooked surface could also be conducive to seam bowling.
Undoubtedly, he is Pakistan’s best batsman. He was in a very good form throughout the World Cup and is expected to continue his golden patch in this series as well. He has a PPM of 93.2 in his last 5 games and appeared in the dream team for every single game.
The find of Sri Lanka’s World Cup campaign. He is their main batsman in this series and the onus will be on him to perform well. He had a decent outing as well in the recent ODI series against Bangladesh at home.
Imam had an above average performance at the World Cup. He would love to have a go against a weakened Sri Lankan attack and further cement his place as Pakistan’s opener. He has a PPM of 52.6 in his last 5 encounters.
Amir rocked the openeing stages of the World Cup with fiery spells against top quality batsman when none of his fellow compatriots could provide him any support. He fizzled out in the latter stage of the World Cup, but being the most experienced of the Pakistani attack, he will be looking to show the same fire and intensity against a weak Lankan battin lineup.
An explosive opening batsman, Fakhar hasn’t performed to his potential throughout the World Cup. Given that SL doesn’t have experience in their bowling unit, this would be a golden chance for him to finally score big and cement his place in the team.