New Delhi. Talking about Asia Cup 2023, Pakistan’s path to reach the final has become difficult. It will not be easy for the team led by the injured Babar Azam to beat Sri Lanka and make it to the final. Sri Lanka gave a tough match to Team India in the Super-4 match. Both Pakistan and Sri Lanka have 2-2 points after 2-2 matches. The Super-4 match on Thursday, September 14 has become a knockout match, with the winner advancing to the final on September 17. This match is also to be played at Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. There is a 90 percent chance of rain on the match day. If the match is not played due to rain then the Sri Lankan team will reach the final. India have already secured their place in the final after beating Sri Lanka by 41 runs in the Super-4 match. The team led by Rohit Sharma is currently at the top of the points table with 4 points.
Pakistan team is struggling with the problem of injured players. It is likely that its leading fast bowlers Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah will not be able to play in the match against Sri Lanka. Shahnawaz Dahani and Zaman Khan have been added to the squad as backups to both the players. The 22-year-old Zaman bowls at a speed of 150 kmph. Pakistan’s concern is not only about injured players. Even its batsmen have not been able to perform as expected in the tournament so far. The team scored 342 for 6 against Nepal in the first match of the Asia Cup in Multan, but then saw its batsmen struggling to produce big scores.
The performance of the batsmen was not as expected
In batting, Pakistan team depends on openers Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq and captain Babar Azam. Batsmen like Mohammad Rizwan and Salman Agha will also have to contribute if there is to be a win against Sri Lanka. Iftikhar Ahmed gave a good example of his ability to play long shots with his century against Nepal, but he needs to maintain his consistency against strong teams. Sri Lanka is one such strong team, which is ready to give a tough challenge to Pakistan.
Velalge performed amazingly
After beating Bangladesh and putting up a tough challenge against India, Sri Lanka have shown that their team is capable of performing well despite the absence of some of its key players. Prior to the start of the tournament, Sri Lanka’s key players Wanindu Hasranga, Dushmantha Chamira and Lahiru Kumara were ruled out due to injury. After this, Sri Lanka had to field their young team in the tournament. But Dunith Velalage, Matisha Pathirana and Mahesh Tikshina put in impressive performances to make the team a title contender.
The Sri Lankan team will want consistency in the performances of its fast bowlers, especially Kasun Rajitha. Rajita has taken 4 wickets in 4 matches so far, but has given away runs at a rate of around 6 runs per over. The Sri Lankan spinners performed well against India and their team will expect them to do well again. The spinners are also getting help from the pitch. In such a situation, the role of the slow bowlers of both the teams will become important.
Both teams are as follows
Pakistan: Babar Azam (capt), Abdullah Shafiq, Fakhar Zaman, Imam ul Haq, Salman Ali Agha, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Haris, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Usama Mir, Faheem Ashraf, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Naseem Shah ., Shaheen Afridi, Saeed Shakeel, Tayyab Tahir. Reserves: Shahnawaz Dahani and Zaman Khan.
Sri Lanka: Dasun Shanaka (Captain), Pathum Nisanka, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis (Vice-Captain), Charith Aslanka, Dhananjay de Silva, Sadira Samarawickrama, Mahish Thikshina, Dunith Velalage, Mathisha Pathirana, Dunith Rajuran, Dunith Rajuran, Doosin, Hain, Pramod Madushan.
First published: September 13, 2023, 13:56 IST