Pakistan is an unpredictable team. One never knows which Pakistan will arrive on the field. On some days they can produce a stunning performance, and on others, they can flatter to deceive. In 2019, Pakistan has lost 0-5 to Australia in the UAE and then 0-4 to England in their backyard in back to back ODI series. Despite that, though, Sarafarz Ahmed’s team will feel confident of getting past their Asian neighbors Sri Lanka in their ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 clash at Bristol.
Sri Lanka has been on the decline for a while now and have lost their last 5 ODI series. Despite showing patches of brilliance at times, their overall performance has been below par. What’s more, is that Sri Lanka has lost all of the last 5 ODIs they have played against Pakistan. It would, hence, take something special for them to defeat Pakistan in this clash.
Even though Pakistan has lost two back-to-back ODI series this year, their batting has looked solid and in form. The likes of opener Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail and captain Sarfaraz Ahmed have been among the runs and will be eager to assert themselves against Sri Lanka.
Pakistan’s bowling has been a worry of late as it has been unable to take wickets. However, they will take heart in the performance of 19-year-old pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi who is their highest wicket-taker this year. Barring Shaheen, the other bowler who has made an impact for Pakistan is left-arm spinner Imad Wasim. Now that Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz have returned to the squad, they might make a difference as well.
For Sri Lanka, wicket-keeper batsman Kusal Mendis has been the highest scorer of the year and new captain Dimuth Karunaratne would hope that he would continue his form in this crucial game. The others who can do some damage are all-rounder Thisara Perera who is in scintillating form, the experienced Angelo Mathews, along with Avishka Fernando and Kusal Perera.
Sri Lanka’s bowling has depth and variety, and it is the only thing which can stop Pakistan. Veteran Lasith Malinga will be leading the charge and will bring all his experience on to play. Then there is seamer Nuwan Pradeep and spinner Dhananjaya de Silva who can make inroads in the middle overs. Sri Lanka also has all-rounders Angela Matthews and Thisara Perera to bank on who can be useful with their average pace.
Pitch condition and Pakistan vs Sri Lanka Prediction:
The pitch at Bristol is expected to be batting friendly. The highest team total by a men’s team here is England’s 359-4 while chasing Pakistan’s 358 in their clash in May 2019. So we can expect another high-scoring game with the team batting first getting more than 300.
If the ball moves around, though, Pakistan’s pacers can make life difficult for Sri Lanka. The balance of this game appears to be tilted highly in favor of Pakistan, and they should clinch this match with ease.