After a brilliant turnaround against the English, Pakistan now face their fellow subcontinent nation Sri Lanka as part of the 11th match of what has been an enthralling World Cup so far. While Pakistan did rise from the ashes to end their losing streak, Sri Lanka also managed to do something of that sort with a Nuwan Pradeep-Lasith Malinga inspired win over the passionate Afghans on Tuesday.
Pakistan enter this game as the firm favourites with their batting unit seemingly back to it’s best and the left arm duo of Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Amir picking wickets at will. Sri Lanka on the other hand, will have to address a number of issues with the bat and come out all guns blazing against the Pakistanis, who have a brilliant record in England conditions. With the County Ground in Bristol playing host to this clash between two former world champions
Sarfraz Ahmed (c), Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Haris Sohail, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Hasnain
Dimuth Karunaratne (C), Dhananjaya de Silva, Avishka Fernando, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Jeevan Mendis, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Pradeep, Milinda Siriwardana, Lahiru Thirimanne, Isuru Udana and Jeffrey Vandersay
After an emphatic reply to all their critics, Pakistan are set to field the same set of players who featured against England with Shoaib Malik and Asif Ali keeping their places inspite of not having to do much with the bat. Although Pakistan play with only four frontline bowlers, Hafeez, Malik and possibly Zaman provide the ten overs in the middle phase which could be crucial in regards to the context of the game. The opening pair of Imam ul Haq and Fakhar Zaman is as good as any other in the tournament while the form of Babar Azam and Mohammad Hafeez bodes well in the longer run.
Possible XI: Imam, Zaman, Azam, Hafeez, Sarfaraz (C&WK), Malik, Asif Ali, Shadab, Hasan Ali, Riaz and Amir.
While the Sri Lankans also come into this game high on confidence with their win over Afghanistan, they do have a couple of problems to sort out with the likes of Kusal Mendis and Angelo Mathews unable to take responsibility in the middle order. Twice in the games, the middle order has collapsed owing to poor shot selection and reckless batting which is a worrying sign against the likes of Hasan Ali and Wahab Riaz. The playing XI should remain unchanged with Nuwan Pradeep revelling in the previous game with a four-wicket haul. Dimuth Karunaratne has been in decent form since assuming the captaincy although it is Kusal Perera who will be key against the Pakistanis on Friday.
Possible XI: Karunaratne (C), Kusal Perera, Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis(WK), Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Thisara, Udana, Pradeep, Lakmal and Malinga.
Pakistan vs Sri Lanka, ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, Match 11
7th June 2019, 3:00 PM IST
County Ground, Bristol
The only game played here in Bristol so far saw some help for the pacers with the new ball while spinners were able to extract some turn with the older ball. All in all, a good surface with a par score of 250-260 should be on offer with even more expected with enough wickets in hand to launch an assault.