The series is quickly getting out of hand from a Sri Lankan perspective, Pakistan are walking all over them at the moment with not a lot of resistance being put up from the other side. They might as well be standing there waving a white flag to surrender, a cry to put them out of their misery so to speak.
Unfortunately that’s not how the game works, but its agonizingly-painful to watch a team get thrashed game after game, especially Sri Lanka. For Pakistan, the blueprint couldn’t be anymore simpler, and that’s just to get the job done with a win to their name at the end of the day. Having dominated the opening two games, Babar Azam was finally restricted to a two-digit score, but that only spurred on debutante Imam-ul-Haq who managed to ton up on debut for Pakistan in ODI cricket. Just like his famous uncle Inzamam, Imam looked right at home out in the middle with a sound technique that saw him bring up a much-deserved century at Abu Dhabi. With Ahmed Shehzad’s unconvincing start to the series that saw him get dropped, it doesn’t look like he’ll be getting his spot back in the opening position anytime soon. You would have thought that was an outright man of the match performance from Imam-ul-Haq, well truth be told he did win it in the end, but only by the slimmest of margins competing with Pakistan’s most productive bowler in limited-overs cricket this year. I speak of Hasan Ali, a man who continues to elevate his standards at just 23-years of age and a wealth of time left in his cricketing career. Another five-wicket haul for Hasan Ali saw him run through Sri Lanka’s batting line-up like a demolition derby, he picked up some key wickets early which saw him clean up the remainders late in the innings as a reward. It just seems psychologically impossible at the moment to comprehend that Sri Lanka have a chance of defeating Pakistan the way they’re currently playing, it’s poor cricket at best and looks like heading down the road of a series-whitewash.
This has been a backward step for Sri Lanka, they have shown very-little to indicate that they’re able to stop the bleeding before they get completely killed off in the series 5-0. Players like Niroshan Dickwella, Dinesh Chandimal, Kusal Mendis, Milinda Siriwardana and Akila Dananjaya are not pulling their weight in the side, along with a group of others that just seem to flick the switch once or twice on the whole entire series. It wouldn’t surprise me if Sri Lanka’s entire squad for this series gets played at least once, they’re in no position to go in unchanged which just unsettles the side even more when the starting XI is forever changing. At this current point in time, Sri Lanka would only have around six players who are locked in the playing XI. That’s a damning statistic, but it’s no lie that numerous players are regularly finding themselves on the chopping block in this team. One player who is as safe as houses in this somewhat-glum outfit is Upul Tharanga, it’s not because he’s the captain, more so a result of his performance-based efforts in the series so far. Tharanga’s teammates need to take a leaf out of his book, the 32-year-old’s last two matches have consisted of 112* & 61, the only player to come close to that was Lahiru Thirimanne who scored 53 in the first match, other than that he’s received no support whatsoever. As for the bowling, it looks lifeless and tends to feed of fatigued batsman who have already made a decent contribution which adds furthermore problems. For example, Jeffrey Vandersay has been consistent taking one wicket a game in the series so far, but it’s hardly impacting Pakistan’s performance. Sri Lanka have a long road ahead of them, a win seems miles away at this point in time.
Top 5 fantasy picks | Pakistan | 4th ODI | Sharjah
- Babar Azam
- Hasan Ali
- Shadab Khan
- Mohammad Hafeez
- Fakhar Zaman
Top 5 fantasy picks | Sri Lanka | 4th ODI | Sharjah
- Thisara Perera
- Upul Tharanga
- Lahiru Gamage
- Lahiru Thirimanne
- Dinesh Chandimal
Team News | Pakistan
Making two changes in the last match with Ahmed Shehzad and Imad Wasim going out of the side, it’s hard to see them making a whole lot more. Rumman Raees might come under the microscope after an expensive seven overs was also accompanied by a wicketless outing, that could open the door for Usman Khan who is uncapped in ODI cricket. An eager Haris Sohail is also waiting on the sidelines for his opportunity, although he would have to replace one of Mohammad Hafeez or Shoaib Malik in the line-up which seems unlikely for the time being.
Pakistan (possible) – 1. Imam-ul-Haq 2. Fakhar Zaman 3. Babar Azam 4. Mohammad Hafeez 5. Shoaib Malik 6. Sarfraz Ahmed (c & wk) 7. Faheem Ashraf/Imad Wasim 8. Shadab Khan 9. Hasan Ali 10. Rumman Raees/Usman Khan 11. Junaid Khan.
Team News | Sri Lanka
What a headache of a situation for Sri Lanka, under-performing players left, right, and centre with not a whole lot of positives to come out of the changes that have already been enforced. Leaving out Suranga Lakmal was a strange decision given that he was taking wickets, replaced by an economical Dushmantha Chameera who didn’t pick up a wicket in the third ODI. It might be time to finally say goodbye to Milinda Siriwardana in the series, he’s had an absolute shocker with the bat scoring just five runs in three matches. A suitable replacement might be all-rounder Seekkuge Prasanna, he’s a more than handy bowler who is capable of picking up wickets with his leg-spin along with his ball-striking ability down the order with the bat. Dinesh Chandimal is also a player struggling to find form in the series, it’s a toss up between him and Kusal Mendis for that no. 3 spot at the moment.
Sri Lanka (possible) – 1. Niroshan Dickwella (wk) 2. Upul Tharanga (c) 3. Dinesh Chandimal/Kusal Mendis 4. Lahiru Thirimanne 5. Chamara Kapugedera 6. Milinda Siriwardana/Seekkuge Prasanna 7. Thisara Perera 8. Jeffrey Vandersay 9. Akila Dananjaya/Suranga Lakmal 10. Dushmantha Chameera 11. Lahiru Gamage.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.