It’s the clash of the two unpredictable teams of the tournament. Before things get serious, the two teams have a sparring opportunity on Friday. Sri Lanka have won 3 of the last 5 matches. Both sides have analysed the situation well to reach a commanding position in the 2022 Asia Cup.
Dress rehearsal for the final
The Lankan Lions have shown strong character this tournament. After being bundled out for 105, Sri Lanka scored 170+ runs in three consecutive innings. Most of the credit goes to the Lankan openers Pathum Nissanka and Kusal Mendis. During the Powerplay overs, Sri Lanka scored an average of 57 runs and lost less than a wicket. Charith Asalanka is the only weak link in the Lankan batting lineup. His poor form at the No. 3 spot may result in a golden opportunity for Dinesh Chandimal to revive his career. Shanaka’s tactical improvisation and sensible gameplay have helped his side finish stronger every game. Maheesh Theekshana has been excellent, particularly with the new ball, whereas Wanindu Hasaranga has had an average run as per his standards. With most of the plans being executed perfectly, Sri Lanka would like to reach the final having won all their Super Four games.
Pakistan’s Asia Cup 2022 story is no different from Sri Lanka’s. After going down to arch-rivals in their first game, they too have gone on to show great valour. Their has been slightly more challenging due to the number of injuries they have sustained. Babar Azam’s poor run has now started to hurt Pakistan. The Pakistani skipper has scored just 33 runs in his last four innings. In the previous game, a narrow escape against Afghanistan exhibited Pakistan’s vulnerability in the middle order. Apart from the innings against Hong Kong, Khushdil Shah has scored only 17 runs in three innings. The two-time champions have some of their work cut out during the Powerplay overs. In the previous four games, Pakistan have, on average, conceded 51 runs, picked up 1 wicket, and scored 46 runs for the loss of 2 wickets during the Powerplay overs. A three-match winning streak means Pakistan are unlikely to make any changes to their playing XI.
Match: Sri Lanka vs Pakistan
Venue: Dubai International Cricket Stadium
Date: 9 September 2022
Time: 07:30 PM IST
Where to watch: Star Sports Network | Disney+ Hotstar
Pitch report & Toss
Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Arshdeep Singh produced swing in the previous game against Afghanistan. These are encouraging signs for fast bowlers. Dubai has always been a happy hunting ground for seam bowlers, and Friday shall be no exception. The side winning the toss will opt to bowl first. 185 looks to be the par score.
Probable playing XIs
Sri Lanka: Kusal Mendis (wk), Pathum Nissanka, Charith Asalanka, Danushka Gunathilaka (c), Dasun Shanaka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Chamika Karunaratne, Wanindu Hasaranga, Maheesh Theekshana, Matheesha Pathirana, Dilshan Madushanka
Pakistan: Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Babar Azam (c), Fakhar Zaman, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Asif Ali, Mohammad Nawaz, Shadab Khan, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hasnain
Total played: 21
Sri Lanka won: 13
Pakistan won: 8
Sri Lanka: Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Kusal Mendis, Dasun Shanaka
Pakistan: Mohammad Rizwan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Asif Ali
Sri Lanka: Maheesh Theekshana, Dilshan Madushanka, Matheesha Pathirana
Pakistan: Haris Rauf, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Hasnain
Kusal Mendis, Mohammad Rizwan, Pathum Nissanka, Fakhar Zaman, Asif Ali, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Haris Rauf, Maheesh Theekshana, Dilshan Madushanka
Captain & Vice-captain picks
Captain: Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Fakhar Zaman
Vice-captain: Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne
Sri Lanka come into the game as favourites to win the dress rehearsal ahead of the final on Sunday. On paper, the Lankan Lions look a well-balanced side with enough variation in their bowling unit. I back them to win the last Super Four game