Just two games in, Pakistan have already shown the entire range of their capabilities in this World Cup. They can collapse for a 100 looking totally clueless against fast bowling, and they can smash 350 the next day and defeat the tournament favourites.
They snapped 11 games losing run in style when they defeated the tournament favourites in a nail-biter encounter and will be looking to build on that against the side they have never lost to in the World Cup.
It must be pleasing for them to see all the batsmen getting runs against England, though they would want one of the top 4 to carry on and score the big hundreds instead of getting out after being set.
The recall of Amir and Wahab at the 11th hour looks like a brilliant decision right now with the 2 experienced men combining to stop Buttler and co at the death against England. With Hafeez and Shoaib Malik looking good with the ball as well, expect the same side to play again against Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka’s World Cup start was very similar to Pakistan, getting blown away by Kiwi quicks and then losing by 10 wickets. They did manage to turn things around and beat Afghanistan in a rain-shortened encounter but it was hardly convincing.
After the excellent start by Kusal Perera and Captain Karunaratne, the middle order suffered an incredible collapse and nearly handed the game back to Afghanistan. Luckily for them, their bowlers did the job and managed to restrict the inexperienced Afghan batsmen to secure a comfortable win in the end.
With a flat pitch expected to go along with the short boundaries in Bristol, a high scoring encounter is expected and Sri Lanka will be hoping their middle order, particularly Mathews, can come back into some form to help them get to a big total.
Pakistan: Fakhar Zaman- Fakhar has been in excellent touch so far in this tournament but hasn’t managed to score a big one, getting out for 22 and 36 in his 2 innings. After playing some really attractive shots, he has thrown his wicket away and Pakistan will be hoping the hard-hitting left hander can capitalise on his good form to get a big score. If Fakhar bats deep, he will put the total well beyond Sri Lankan reach.
Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews- The most experienced batsman in Sri Lankan line-up but just can’t buy a run at the moment. His horrid start to the tournament has meant the Sri Lankan middle-order has been blown away easily by both New Zealand and Afghanistan. They really need him to step up and anchor the innings and set it up for the big hitters to follow in the lower half.
Pakistan v Sri Lanka in ODIs:
Overall: Matches 153, Pakistan Won 90, Sri Lanka Won 58, Tied 1, No Result 4
World Cup: Matches 7, Pakistan Won 7, Sri Lanka Won 0
Recent Form (most recent first): Pakistan W L L L L, Sri Lanka W L W L L
ICC Rankings: Pakistan (6), Sri Lanka (9)