In a highly anticipated encounter at Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium, cricket fans are gearing up for a showdown between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the ICC Men’s ODI World Cup 2023. As the teams lock horns on October 10, both sides carry contrasting forms and objectives into this crucial clash.
Pakistan, coming off a lackluster Asia Cup 2023 campaign and defeats in warm-up matches against New Zealand and Australia, found redemption in their opening fixture against the Netherlands. Despite some batting collapses, Babar Azam’s squad set a challenging target of 287 and secured an 81-run victory, aiming to build momentum for the upcoming clash against arch-rivals India.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, enters the tournament on the back of a demoralizing loss in the Asia Cup finals against India and setbacks in warm-up matches against Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Missing key performers like Dushmantha Chameera and Wanindu Hasaranga, the Sri Lankan team faced a daunting challenge against South Africa, where their bowlers struggled, and the Proteas posted a record-breaking 428/5.
The Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium, known for high-scoring encounters, is expected to favor batsmen. However, the pitch showed signs of spin in the second inning of the Netherlands-Pakistan encounter. While batters are likely to thrive, Sri Lanka may need to adapt to conditions less favorable for batting than what they experienced in Delhi against South Africa.
In head-to-head encounters in ICC ODI World Cup tournaments, Pakistan has dominated Sri Lanka, winning seven out of eight matches, with one game ending without a result. Sri Lanka aims to draw confidence from their recent last-ball victory against Pakistan in the Asia Cup, seeking to revive their campaign.
Pakistan’s only uncertainty revolves around the form of opener Fakhar Zaman, but coach Arthur indicated that Zaman is likely to retain his spot. The rest of the playing XI is expected to remain unchanged.
On the Sri Lankan side, they are likely to stick with the same starting 11 that faced South Africa in their previous match.
Pakistan: Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam (captain), Mohammad Rizwan (wicket-keeper), Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmad, Muhammad Nawaz, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, and Haris Rauf
Sri Lanka: Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis (wicket-keeper), Sadeera Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dasun Shanaka (captain), Dunith Wellalage, Kasun Rajitha, Matheesha Pathirana, and Dilshan Madushanka