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As these two South Asian cricketing giants lock horns once again, several intriguing storylines exist. Both teams want to get to the semi-finals, which presents this clash as a huge opportunity for them to get two points. It is always good for Pakistan to go in the titanic clash against India with a win under their belt.
Head-to-head record, including Pakistan vs SL World Cup contests
When it comes to their head-to-head encounters, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have squared off 156 times in ODIs. Pakistan has a clear advantage with 92 wins, while Sri Lanka has secured 59 wins.
The stats favour Pakistan even more when considering ODIs played on neutral grounds, where they have triumphed 56 times compared to Sri Lanka's 26. In the context of ODI World Cups, Pakistan boasts seven wins against Sri Lanka's solitary victory.
One memorable world cup clash occurred in 2011, held in India, where Pakistan emerged victorious by a narrow 11-run margin, largely thanks to Shahid Afridi's heroics.
Pakistan vs. SL world cup clash: Players to look out for
Undoubtedly one of the most consistent and stylish batsmen in modern cricket, Babar Azam has held the prestigious title of the World No.1 ODI batsman for an impressive two and a half years.
He has been the benchmark for class and the ability to deliver match-winning performances. In his inaugural World Cup appearance in England, Azam scored a remarkable 474 runs, including a scintillating century against New Zealand.
However, what intrigues fans and pundits alike is not just his incredible records but his ability to navigate Sri Lanka's spin department.
Since landing in Sri Lanka in July, the Peshawar Zalmi captain has struggled against spinners, evident in his stumping off Dunith Wellalage in Pakistan's recent clash against Sri Lanka.
Dunith Wellalage is a rising star in the world of cricket who embodies intensity, passion, and unwavering dedication. At just 20 years old, he has already demonstrated remarkable skills with both bat and ball, making him a promising talent in the sport.
Wellalage's journey from humble beginnings to challenging some cricketing giants in the Asia Cup 2023 is a testament to his determination and grit. He initially made a name for himself in school cricket, where he showcased his ability to take wickets and score runs with charisma. His raw talent and an insatiable desire to improve quickly captured selectors' attention, earning him a spot in the junior national team.
One of his standout performances came in the Asia Cup Super 4 game against India, where he displayed his all-around abilities by contributing 42 runs and claiming 5/40 with the ball. Notably, he dismissed key Indian batsmen such as Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, and Hardik Pandya.
In another impressive feat two days later, Wellalage removed the number one ODI batter, Azam. As a young talent with immense potential, the left-arm spinner is undoubtedly a name to watch out for in this game and the entire tournament.
Shaheen Shah Afridi
The towering fast bowler, Shaheen Afridi, has been the linchpin of Pakistan's bowling attack for a significant period.
With Naseem Shah absent from the scene, Afridi has been tasked with an even greater responsibility—providing early breakthroughs to the team.
He rose to prominence in the 2019 World Cup in England, claiming an impressive tally of 16 wickets, the highest by any Pakistani bowler in a World Cup.
Known for his ability to dismantle opposition top orders, the Lahore Qalandars captain’s impact in the early overs is undeniable.
However, critics have occasionally questioned Afridi’s performance in the latter stages of matches. Yet, the 23-year-old’s recent spell against India in an abandoned game demonstrated his capability to remove the tail-enders and secure crucial wickets.
Haris Rauf has emerged as a rising star in Pakistan's fast bowling arsenal. His aggressive and attacking style of bowling has earned him recognition.
During the Asia Cup, Rauf showcased his ability to break partnerships in the middle overs—a trait highly valued in limited-overs cricket.
Notably, the Lahore Qalandars fast bowler dismantled a crucial partnership between Ishan Kishan and Hardik Pandya in an Asia Cup 2023 game against India.
However, questions loom over his fitness and form following an injury sustained in the next match against the arch-rivals.
In the warm-up games of the World Cup 2023, Rauf's performances raised concerns, as he conceded 97 runs in just nine overs against Australia. Pakistan's hopes hinge on his recovery and effectiveness in the upcoming matches.
As the cricketing world turns its attention to Ahmedabad, the venue for this clash, it is essential to assess the pitch conditions.
Ahmedabad is known for offering batsmen a paradise to exhibit their skills, with some assistance for spinners as the game progresses. Both teams will closely monitor the pitch's behavior, as it can significantly influence their strategies.
A significant concern for Pakistan has been the underperformance of their spin department, both in the Asia Cup and the warm-up games of the World Cup.
The ability to control the middle overs and take crucial wickets is vital in limited-overs cricket, and Pakistan will need their spinners to step up to the challenge.
However, Sri Lanka is not without its concerns, as they will miss the services of Wanindu Hasaranga, a key contributor to their success in the Asia Cup last year.
When analyzing the squads of both teams, Pakistan emerges as the favorite. They possess a formidable batting lineup and a potent pace attack.
However, Sri Lanka has demonstrated their ability to compete head-to-head with Pakistan in recent battles.
Therefore, fans can anticipate another thrilling encounter reminiscent of their recent clash in the Asia Cup. We can predict that whichever team excels in the spin department will win the match.