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ICC World Cup: Pakistan ready to take on Sri Lanka today: Match starts at 2.00 PM at Uppal Stadium, Hyderabad.

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For as alien as it is for Pakistani players to be playing in India, the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad won’t be alien enough when they face Sri Lanka on Tuesday. Over the last two weeks, they have played three games at the venue, even if they haven’t come close to producing their potential best performance.

Sri Lanka isn’t an opposition they would mind coming up against. Not only have they beaten their Asian counterparts in eight out of the last nine encounters but it’s also a team that has never beaten Pakistan in World Cups. Being on the other side of the spectrum against India, Pakistan know a thing or two about the psychological advantage these historical baggages tend to bring.

Pakistan’s head coach Grant Bradburn has insisted that the form of the fast bowlers has overshadowed the improved performances of their middle order. He isn’t far from the truth. It’s the best year that middle order has had since the 2019 World Cup. But also the worst for their top order. While the poor form of the openers has been well highlighted, Babar Azam has managed to score only 61 runs in the last 4 ODIs. A concern for Pakistan, an opportunity for Sri Lanka to pounce on and gain the early advantage.

It’s still early days in the tournament and there is some early momentum already, even if largely insignificant. Sri Lanka will be coming into the game after having their bowling attack being taken apart by South Africa in their tournament opener in Delhi. Even as the batters put up a respectable score, it was far from enough to challenge the opposition. The likely return of Maheesh Theekshana would be good news for them, but it would lead to some minor selection dilemma. Do they go in with three frontline pacers or back both Theekshana and Dunith Wellalage?

More importantly, can they flip the momentum, break the winless run and give their world cup campaign a move on? It will be their last game at the now-familiar venue for Pakistan before they head to the hotter climes of Ahmedabad and Chennai. And they would hope to leave the city with lesser concerns than they came with.


Sri Lanka Squad: Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis(w), Sadeera Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dasun Shanaka(c), Dunith Wellalage, Kasun Rajitha, Matheesha Pathirana, Dilshan Madushanka, Dimuth Karunaratne, Lahiru Kumara, Dushan Hemantha, Maheesh Theekshana

Pakistan Squad: Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam(c), Mohammad Rizwan(w), Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Nawaz, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, Agha Salman, Usama Mir, Abdullah Shafique, Mohammad Wasim Jr

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