Pakistan will face Sri Lanka in a highly anticipated contest to be played at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad on 10th October. Babar Azam and Co registered an 81-run victory over the Netherlands in their opening match played at this venue.
On the other hand, Sri Lanka suffered a 102-run loss against South Africa at Arun Jaitley Stadium, New Delhi. Pakistan will be high on confidence as their top order comprising of Fakhar Zaman, Imam, and Babar Azam struggled. Both teams faced each other in the recently concluded Asia Cup where Sri Lanka won the match by 2 wickets.
Here we look at the 5 Players To Watch Out For
- Kusal Mendis
Chasing down 429 runs to win, Kusal Mendis looked in sublime touch right from the word putting pressure on the South African bowlers. He did not allow them to settle hitting big shots and played some brilliant shots on placid batting paradise at New Delhi.
His innings was filled with superb shots and entertained the crowd at New Delhi. It was a superb knock by Mendis scoring 76 off 42 deliveries with 4 boundaries and 8 sixes. Kusal Mendis performed well in the recently concluded Asia Cup match scoring 92 runs laying a strong foundation for a win over Pakistan.
Mendis would be hoping to replicate the superb form that he displayed in the match against South Africa. If he could provide the same form, then there are chances that Sri Lanka could beat Pakistan and open their account in the tournament.
- Mohammed Rizwan
The star wicketkeeper batter Mohammed Rizwan rose to the occasion during the first encounter against Netherlands. Pakistan looked in deep trouble losing 3 quick wickets. He looked in decent touch putting bad deliveries away for boundaries and kept the scoreboard ticking along with Saud Shakeel.
Rizwan played the pacers and spinners brilliantly making life tough for the Netherlands captain. He scored 68 off 75 deliveries leading to Pakistan’s recovery. His performance stood out during the Asia Cup match against Sri Lanka.
He will look to showcase his performance again if the top order fails to put on a decent partnership. Rizwan can prove his worth with another superb knock against Sri Lankan bowling.
- Charith Asalanaka
The stylish left-handed batter Charith Asalanaka proved his worth with another superb knock in the first match against South Africa. Sri Lanka kept losing wickets chasing down 429 runs, but Asalanaka made the batting look very easy on a placid batting pitch in New Delhi.
His innings included some lovely shots against the pacers and scored runs against the spinners. It was a superb batting effort by Asalanaka scoring 79 off 65 deliveries including 8 boundaries and 4 sixes.
He played a brilliant match winning against Pakistan in the recently concluded Asia Cup 2023. The Sri Lankan team would be hoping that Asalanaka will showcase his talent coming at number 5 and keep pressure on Pakistan’s bowling lineup.
- Haris Rauf
The Pakistan speedster had a great outing in the opening match against the Netherlands. He bowled with pace and aggression does not allow them to score runs with ease. It was a good bowling effort by Rauf keeping the batters guessing with his speed.
Rauf got his first wicket by dismissing Teja Nidamanuru and then dismissed Scott Edwards in the same over to put Netherlands on the backfoot. Rauf then shattered the stumps of Paul Van Meekeren to finish with figures of 3 for 43 in 9 overs.
Haris Rauf did not feature in the Asia Cup match against Sri Lanka. He would be hoping to provide early breakthroughs and put the Lankan batters under pressure with aggressive bowling.
- Mahesh Theekshana
Mahesh Theekshana will boost the bowling attack as he was not included in the playing XI against South Africa due to an injury. He can bowl in the first 10 overs with discipline lines and lengths not allowing the openers to score runs easily.
He would be looking to do the early damage and put the Pakistan team under pressure. Theekshana is the most experienced bowler in this team. He had a decent outing against the same team in the Asia Cup match.
Theekshana inclusion will make sure that they don’t concede too many runs and also check the flow of runs in middle overs.