Pakistan vs Sri Lanka in the ICC World Cup 2019 on June 7 (Friday) will be broadcast on the Star Sports network and Live streaming will be available on Hotstar. The match will be played at Bristol County Ground, Bristol and will begin at 1500 HRS IST. (SL vs PAK Live).
PREVIEW: It will be a clash of one-time Asian giants Pakistan and Sri Lanka at the Bristol County Ground on Friday. ‘One time’ because both sides are a shadow of their glorious pasts as reflected in the ODI rankings — Pakistan are 6th while Sri Lanka are lowly 9th.
Both sides are former World Cup champions but are coming into the 2019 ICC World Cup are clear underdogs because of their recent ODI form. After a shocking start to both of their campaigns, both teams have managed to post contrasting wins to get off the mark in the World Cup.
Pakistan were bundled out for 105 but managed to post a massive 348 runs against tournament favourites and hosts England in their last match. The total enabled them to squeeze out a 14-run win in spite of centuries by Joe Root and Jos Buttler.
Sri Lanka also posted a dismal 136 against New Zealand but their batsmen didn’t do too better in their second game, posting 201 in a rain-hit tie against Afghanistan in Cardiff. Dimuth Karunaratne’s side will be pleased to leave Wales and move to Bristol for a change, more so because of Cardiff’s lush green track which has caused plenty of trouble for their batsmen.
The Bristol track should not provide as much assistance to the fast bowlers as the Cardiff pitch. But Lanka will be up against a formidable Pakistan pace attack led by Mohammed Amir, Hasan Ali and Wahab Riaz — all three of whom can hustle the best of the batsmen with their pace.
Lanka’s strength lies in their death bowling, led by the experienced Lasith Malinga with Nuwan Pradeep and Suranga Lakmal. Pakistan’s batting also has blown hot-and-cold in the recent times but Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq have been consistent at the top.
What Sarfaraz Ahmed’s team lacks is a quality finisher or enforcer lower down the order, although Mohammed Hafeez’s half-century against England should ally some of their concerns. His side also holds an all-win record over Sri Lanka in World Cup, with seven wins dating back to 1975 World Cup.
Last Five ODIs
They halted an 11-match losing streak with a shock 14-run win over England in their last game. Before coming into the World Cup, they lost ODI series to England 4-0.
Sri Lanka: LNRWLW
Their recent form has been like a roller-coaster. After ODI series loss to South Africa, they won one game against Scotland (second game washed out) and then were thrashed by New Zealand by 10 wickets in their opening game. They bounced back to beat Afghanistan by 34 runs via DLS method in a rain-hit tie.
Players to watch out for
Pakistan: Babar Azam: He is Pakistan’s Mr. Consistent with an average of over 50 in ODI cricket till date. Azam loves to bat against Sri Lanka, averaging over 58 with two centuries till date. In the last four ODIs, he has a century and two fifties to his name already.
Sri Lanka: Kusal Perera: The wicketkeeper-batsman, also Lanka’s opener, was in sizzling form against Afghanistan in the last game. Perera was the star of an unlikely run-chase in Durban Test against South Africa last year, when he smashed 153 to lead his side to win. In the Sanath Jayasuriya mould, Perera will look to stamp his authority over Pakistan early.
Pakistan: They will not like to make too many changes to the side that helped them win their first game after 12 matches.
Sri Lanka: Their middle-order is the biggest area of concern. Coach Chandika Hathurasinghe has already spoken about the need for the batsmen to take more responsibility. Avishka Fernando or Milinda Siriwardana are the other options but they lack experience.
Pakistan: Sarfaraz Ahmed (c, wk), Asif Ali, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Amir, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Imam-ul-Haq, Shadab Khan, Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz, Haris Sohail, Imad Wasim, Fakhar Zaman
Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Avishka Fernando, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Jeevan Mendis, Kusal Mendis (wk), Kusal Perera (wk), Thisara Perera, Nuwan Pradeep, Dhananjaya de Silva, Milinda Siriwardana, Lahiru Thirimanne, Isuru Udana, Jeffrey Vandersay