Pakistan will be playing without their star pacers Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah against Sri Lanka which would make them vulnerable in the must-win Super Four match being played today in Colombo.
Analysing the team formation ahead of the crucial game following changes in the plating XI, former Indian cricketer Anil Kumble said that those “two were sort of the key bowlers” for Pakistan.
“Naseem Shah has been brilliant with the new bowl and Haris Rauf in the middle and towards the end. So, if both of them don’t play against Sri Lanka which is a virtual semi-final then certainly it advantages Sri Lanka.”
Kumble noted that if the wicket would be like what it was in the Sri Lanka-India game or anywhere close to that then “it literally negates the faster bowlers other than Shaheen Shah Afridi”.
According to him, considering the skillset and strengths of both the teams, Sri Lanka has an advantage over Pakistan with the kind of spin attack they have and cited it as a “crucial factor” in today’s game.
Pakistan will have to play really well and score in case they do get to bat first, he suggested.
“Babar Azam scored 100 in the first game [of the Asia Cup 2023] but after that he hasn’t been really the same. Rizwan hasn’t scored at all so Pakistan will be hoping that their top order will do what the Indian top order did against them.”
Pakistan are a bat-first sort of team. They prefer that not necessarily chase down I know in this competition they did chase down against Bangladesh but against Sri Lanka, you would want to bat first and then defend.”
Green Shirts made five changes to their team that lost to India with Mohammad Haris, Saud Shakeel, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Wasim and Zaman Khan coming in.
Pakistan Playing XI:
Mohammad Haris, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam (capt), Mohammad Rizwan (wkt), Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan (vice-capt), Mohammad Nawaz, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Wasim, Zaman Khan.