Pakistan Bank Leveraging Recent Familiarity to Drive Momentum


Pakistan Bank Leveraging Recent Familiarity to Drive Momentum

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In a surprising twist, Pakistan emerged victorious in their opening game with an impressive display of skill. Despite the unfamiliarity of Pakistani players competing in India, the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad has become somewhat of a second home over the last two weeks. However, they have yet to reach their full potential on this familiar ground.

Facing Sri Lanka on Tuesday may not be as daunting, as Pakistan has historically dominated this Asian counterpart, winning eight out of their last nine encounters. Additionally, Sri Lanka has never defeated Pakistan in World Cups, a fact that Pakistan hopes to leverage, given their experience with India and the psychological advantages associated with such historical rivalries.

Grant Bradburn, Pakistan’s head coach, has pointed out that the fast bowlers have outshone the improved performances of the middle order. While the middle order is having its best year since the 2019 World Cup, the top order is struggling, with openers facing particular scrutiny. Babar Azam, in particular, has only managed to score 61 runs in his last four ODIs, a matter of concern for Pakistan but an opportunity for Sri Lanka to capitalize on and gain an early advantage.

Despite the tournament being in its early stages, some early momentum has been established, albeit largely insignificant. Sri Lanka, however, will enter the game after their bowling attack was dismantled by South Africa in their tournament opener in Delhi. While their batters put up a respectable score, it was insufficient to challenge the opposition. The possible return of Maheesh Theekshana is a welcome development for Sri Lanka, but it poses a minor selection dilemma: should they opt for three frontline pacers or support both Theekshana and Dunith Wellalage?

The key question remains: can Sri Lanka reverse their momentum, break their winless streak, and propel their World Cup campaign forward? This match represents Pakistan’s last appearance at the now-familiar Hyderabad venue before heading to the hotter climates of Ahmedabad and Chennai. They hope to leave the city with fewer concerns than they arrived with.

Match Details:

  • Date: Tuesday, October 10, 2023, 2:00 PM IST
  • Location: Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad
  • Event: Pakistan vs. Sri Lanka, Match 8, ICC World Cup 2023

Pitch and Conditions: The pitch at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium has been batting-friendly with some turn available for the spinners. Pakistan’s experience with three matches at this venue over the last two weeks should help them adapt to the conditions.

Team News:

Pakistan: Despite their opening game win, concerns linger for Pakistan, particularly at the top of the order. Fakhar Zaman, backed by Bradburn, faces uncertainty about retaining his place in the XI.

Sri Lanka: The return of Maheesh Theekshana is a significant boost to their bowling attack after a disappointing performance against South Africa.

Tactics & Strategy:

  • Hasan Ali, coming off an impactful return, aims to challenge Kusal Mendis, who has struggled against him in ODIs.
  • Sri Lanka hopes to exploit Fakhar Zaman’s vulnerability to the full swinging ball, as seen in their opener against Logan van Beek.

Likely XIs:


  1. Fakhar Zaman/Abdullah Shafique
  2. Imam ul Haq
  3. Babar Azam
  4. Mohammad Rizwan
  5. Saud Shakeel
  6. Iftikhar Ahmed
  7. Shadab Khan
  8. Mohammad Nawaz
  9. Hasan Ali
  10. Shaheen Afridi
  11. Haris Rauf

Sri Lanka:

  1. Kusal Perera
  2. Patthum Nissanka
  3. Kusal Mendis
  4. Sadeera Samarawickrama
  5. Charith Asalanka
  6. Dhananjaya de Silva
  7. Dasun Shanaka
  8. Maheesh Theekshana
  9. Dunith Wellalage/Dilshan Madhushanka
  10. Kasun Rajitha
  11. Matheesha Pathirana

Key Stats:

  • Sri Lanka has never beaten Pakistan in the 50-over World Cup, with Pakistan winning seven out of eight encounters and one match abandoned.
  • Pakistan has won eight of their last nine ODIs against Sri Lanka.
  • Since 2022, Sri Lankan spinners have been the most productive among all teams, averaging 26.13, while Pakistan’s spinners have had the second-worst record at 39.85.


  • “Pakistan is quite a strong opposition. The only advantage that we have is that we have been playing Pakistan recently in the Asia Cup as well, so both teams know quite well about each team’s strengths, weaknesses, whatever it may be. I think it’s going to be a good tussle.” – Naveed Nawaz, Sri Lanka’s assistant coach
  • “We’ve got full faith in our top order. They will click at some stage. And we’re open and honest to say that we’re not getting what we would like out of the Powerplay as yet. But we’re certainly very happy with other phases of our game which have kicked into gear and did enough the other night to get over the line.” – Grant Bradburn, New Zealand head coach


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