About the Match
Pakistan staged a brilliant comeback to take a 2-0 lead in the ODI series and are on the verge of winning the series. Sri Lanka started out in the best manner with the ball but then could not finish off things with the bat.
Is there anything that the Islanders can do to reverse their wretched ODI run?
Babar Azam continues to prove himself as one of the best ODI batsmen in the world with a brilliant, fighting knock when everyone around him was falling. Only Shadab Khan, who had a superb all-round game, gave him support scoring a valuable fifty himself.
Babar now has two centuries from two matches and became the fastest ever to reach seven ODI centuries. It is difficult o count him out from scoring another one in this match because he just looks so comfortable and untroubled at the crease.
The other players in the top-order would probably need to do some soul searching ahead of the third game. Ahmed Shahzad just seems incapable of scoring a run at the moment and continues to hit the fielders rather than the gap.
His lack of scoring also puts additional pressure on Fakhar Zaman and Mohammad Hafeez at 4. Babar Azam has shown to possess the temperament to be able to bat through the innings at 3 but it is really questionable how Pakistan will cope if he gets out early as well.
Shoaib Malik is in good form and can be counted on to contribute in most matches but there is not too much behind him. Sarfaraz Khan is always ready to fight it out in the middle but he seems to be struggling a bit with fluency and Pakistan do not really want him out in the middle with more than half the innings to go.
In the bowling department, Pakistan found Shadab Khan as the perfect person to step up on a turning pitch. He is a rising star of Pakistani cricket and has already tasted massive success in the PSL and his brief international career.
Hasan Ali was the other bowler that Sri Lanka found very difficult to get away. With Pakistan’s batting performing consistently and their bowling as effective as ever, they are fast becoming a difficult team to beat and that is reflected in their recent record of 8 wins from 9 matches.
Early wickets, a small total, and no real demons in the pitch. All of these things should have equated to a Sri Lankan victory but that was not to be. Sri Lanka employed defensive tactics against Babar Azam and gave away easy runs to Shadab Khan.
They had the opposition on the mat but failed to strike when the iron was hot.
There were some positives from that performance though. A hugely improved bowling performance saw Sri Lanka get ahead in the match whereas they have depended on the batsmen to win them matches in the past.
Gamage finished with 4 wickets and was impressive with his persistence throughout the innings. Suranga Lakmal, Akila Dananjaya, and Jeffrey Vandersay were all miserly with the ball, however, it was Thisara Perera who was the real standout bowler in our opinion.
Perera did the job of the fifth bowler fantastically and ended up with figures of 34 for 2 from 10 overs.
If Sri Lanka can put in a similar level of bowling performance then they will definitely end up winning more matches.
A team that has become accustomed to losing, and Sri Lanka have lost their last 9 ODI’s in a row, often finds ways of losing from winning positions. The Sri Lankan batting has plenty of talent, proven performers, and players with potential but none of them was able to stick it out in the middle long enough to make a difference.
Upul Tharanga scored a hundred but was reprieved multiple times during the process.
Had Pakistan taken its catches, the scoreline could have been much more emphatic.
Sri Lanka must find a way to shock its batsmen into waking up and putting in some performances because we still believe they can stage a comeback into this series. They have come close to winning in both matches and will surely be desperate to break this losing streak of theirs.
Pitch and Conditions
A pitch very similar to the last match is expected to be encountered by the players. A score of 250 should be very difficult to chase. We don’t expect too many big hits as the pitch is a little on the slower side. The Performances of the spinners could be the major determinants of victory.
Sri Lanka has lost 9 matches in a row but has competed well in both of the matches in this series. Pakistan is also a flawed ODI side which could slip up at any moment. We think the odds justify backing Sri Lanka to cause an upset and win this match.
Back Sri Lanka to win