Match 11 of the World Cup sees two teams holding 1-1 records battle it out as Pakistan and Sri Lanka take to the field Friday at the County Ground in Bristol.
With both nations suffering heavy defeats in their opening match before registering victories in their second game, this contest can almost be considered as an early tournament ‘knockout’ match for two of the less fancied sides.
From all out for 105, to a total of 348 and defeating the number one team in the world, it must have been a roller coaster of emotions for Pakistan players, coaches and fans alike over the past six days.
With the top five of Pakistan’s batting order all scoring over 35 runs in that game, what better way for the ‘Men in Green’ to maintain their new found momentum than a match-up against a team they are currently enjoy a six-match winning streak over.
While Sri Lanka’s win over Afghanistan obviously doesn’t rank as strong as Pakistan’s win over England, any victory currently for Sri Lanka (big or small) provides them with a much needed confidence boost considering the Lions entered that match with a 3-14 record over the previous 17 matches.
It is not hard to see how Sri Lanka can achieve victory going forward – it is all about taking wickets. Since last year’s Asia Cup tournament, Sri Lanka have only taken ten opposition wickets on three occasions. From those three games, they have enjoyed their only three wins.
Predicting a first innings total in this match will be tough. The County Ground enjoyed some high scoring affairs during the practice / warm up phase last month – eg: England chasing over 350 and the West Indies posting 421, yet Afghanistan were only able to reach 207 last Sunday.
PAK vs SL – Probable XI
Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Sarfaraz Ahmed (c & wk), Asif Ali, Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir
Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Kusal Perera (wk), Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Thisara Perera, Isuru Udana, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Pradeep
PAK vs SL – Players to watch out for
When playing in the British Isles, Mohammed Hafeez averages 40.13 in the first innings compared to 24.53 in the second. Will that stat be enough to convince Pakistan to bat first if they win the toss?
Angelo Mathews has played just once at the County Ground for a fifty (56). From 29 at bats against Pakistan he has never scored triple figures.
The average first innings score at this venue in 2019 is 271. Kusal Mendis’ career batting average of 28.20 slumps to 13.00 against Pakistan.
The team batting second at the County Ground has won ten of 17 completed matches. Babar Azam has reached double figures with the bat in 14 straight ODI matches.