ABOUT THE MATCH
After rain washed out the first match of Pakistan’s three-game ODI series against Sri Lanka, the second match is scheduled to take place at Karachi’s National Stadium on September 30. Again.
Pakistan is clear favorites for this match and the series, having picked a strong squad – led by the batting of Babar Azam and Imam-ul-Haq, and the bowling of Mohammad Amir. After finishing the World Cup well – it was their poor start which proved costly – they are looking to kick on now.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, has an inexperienced squad as a number of senior players refused to tour Pakistan due to injury concerns. Lahiru Thirimanne has been appointed captain, but very few of their senior players are present.
Teams batting first fared well at Karachi in the Pakistan Super League. If Pakistan can win the toss on home soil, they might have that in mind and look to bat first.
PITCH AND CONDITIONS
After Friday’s thunderstorms failed to clear in time to allow any play, the conditions for Monday are much better. It is set to be sunny all the way with temperatures in the 30s and a very low chance of rain on the forecast.
Karachi favored the batsmen during the Pakistan Super League – the last time the ground was used for major fixtures – and that could be the case again during this series.
- Pakistan has stuck with the bulk of their World Cup squad. Shaheen Afridi (illness) is the notable absentee and Hasan Ali is also injured. Abid Ali, Usman Shinwari and Iftikhar Ahmed are among the players recalled.
- one win in their first four games at the World Cup, Pakistan finished strongly with wins against South Africa, New Zealand, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. That lifted them to fifth in the group, but they were denied a semi-final place on net run rate.
- Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam signed off from the tournament in excellent batting form as they hit 100 and 96 respectively in the final group game against Bangladesh.
- Shaheen Afridi’s six-wicket haul in reply ensured the Tigers got nowhere near Pakistan’s 315/9.
- Ten senior Sri Lankan players have withdrawn from the squad, with notable names including captain Dimuth Karunaratne, former captain Angelo Mathews and key men Dinesh Chandimal and Kusal Perera.
- It means Lahiru Thirimanne will captain the team, while wicket-keeping duties could be left for potential debutant Minod Banuka.
- Sri Lanka bounced back from a disappointing World Cup campaign, in which victory over hosts and eventual winners England was one of the few highlights of their sixth-placed finish, by beating Bangladesh 3-0.
- Lasith Malinga signed off from ODI cricket after starring in the first game, before Avishka Fernando hit 82 in the second game to seal the series victory for the hosts. Fernando is one of the few players from that series to now be touring Pakistan.
PROBABLE WINNING TEAM:
Pakistan’s batting and bowling are significantly stronger and more experienced than their Sri Lankan counterparts and the result should reflect that.
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