Two teams desperate to continue winning face-off in Bristol
After both Pakistan and Sri Lanka lost their opening 2019 World Cup games, sunshine appears to be peeping through the thick-grey clouds in the UK after bouncing back in their respective matches with wins against Afghanistan and England. Pakistan’s victory over the host nation was easily the more impressive result, Sri Lanka on the other hand won’t be fussed how or who they get their wins against, so long as it sees them awarded the two points. The men in green will head into this match as firm-favourites after bringing down one of the World Cup contenders early in the group stage.
After being blown out of the water in their opening match of the tournament, Pakistan’s horror-start to the tournament was expected to continue against England at Trent Bridge. If you aren’t familiar with Pakistan in past World Cup’s, they have a tendency to pull off major upsets regardless of the team they have on the park. The 14-run victory was a big deal for the Pakistani’s, they needed a response after that 10-wicket hammering against the Black Caps. Openers Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman put on an 82 run opening stand which set up the 348-run total. Half centuries to Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed and notably Mohammad Hafeez with his free-flowing 84 well & truly nullified England’s efforts with the ball. Although Sri Lanka’s bowling attack isn’t quite as impressive as England’s, the likes of Lasith Malinga and Nuwan Pradeep are dangerous bowlers to attack. Scores of 22 & 36 don’t do Fakhar Zaman justice, he’s a much better batsman than that so expect something big from the Pakistani opener anytime now.
Sri Lanka will do well to restrict this Pakistani batting line-up, their depth is unlikely to be tested which gives their batsmen a license to go after the bowlers. Veteran Lasith Malinga treated us to a vintage-master class of death bowing with two Yorkers crashing into middle stump to win Sri Lanka the game against a helpless-Afghanistan. You can’t buy experience, and that’s why Malinga is such an asset to this team despite losing a significant amount of pace over the years. Nuwan Pradeep showed selectors why he is a must-have in this ODI outfit after claiming a four-wicket haul in his first appearance of this year’s World Cup as well. Given Adam Zampa’s impact at this ground in the last game, Sri Lanka may want to consider playing a specialist spinner. Sri Lanka’s batting is still a bit of an unknown, Kusal Perera was the only standout performer against Afghanistan scoring 78 which featured a large percentage of boundaries in his innings. Kusal Mendis and Angelo Mathews have been major-disappointments so far, Mathews has been dismissed for consecutive-ducks and Mendis has scored just 2 runs in two matches.
Top 4 fantasy picks – Pakistan
- Babar Azam
- Shadab Khan
- Fakhar Zaman
- Mohammad Amir
Wildcard pick – Shoaib Malik
Top 4 fantasy picks – Sri Lanka
- Kusal Perera
- Nuwan Pradeep
- Lasith Malinga
- Dimuth Karunaratne
Wildcard pick – Angelo Mathews
Predicted Team XI’s
Pakistan (possible) – 1. Imam-ul-Haq 2. Fakhar Zaman 3. Babar Azam 4. Mohammad Hafeez 5. Sarfaraz Ahmed (c & wk) 6. Shoaib Malik 7. Asif Ali 8. Wahab Riaz 9. Shadab Khan 10. Hasan Ali/Shaheen Afridi 11. Mohammad Amir.
Sri Lanka (possible) – 1. Dimuth Karunaratne © 2. Kusal Perera (wk) 3. Lahiru Thirimanne 4. Kusal Mendis 5. Angelo Mathews 6. Dhananjaya de Silva/Milinda Siriwardana/Jeevan Mendis 7. Thisara Perera 8. Isuru Udana/Suranga Lakmal 9. Lasith Malinga 10. Nuwan Pradeep 11. Jeffrey Vandersay.
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.