Fakhar Makes Way for Abdullah as Pakistan Eyes 8-0 in WC

World Cup 2023

In the heart of Hyderabad, the cricketing world is set to witness another riveting chapter of the Asia Cup World Cup saga as Pakistan locks horns with Sri Lanka. The backdrop is intriguing: just three weeks ago, Sri Lanka triumphed over Pakistan in a nail-biting virtual semi-final of the Asia Cup. However, the World Cup has painted a different picture so far. While Sri Lanka faced a setback in Delhi against South Africa, Pakistan, under the leadership of Babar Azam, clinched a victory against the Netherlands.

Despite the historical 7-0 World Cup record favoring Pakistan, the current crop of Sri Lankan cricketers, having dominated Pakistan in recent encounters, won’t be daunted. The transformation in the Sri Lankan batting lineup is evident. Under the guidance of Chris Silverwood, they’ve adopted the ‘England blueprint’, showcasing a more aggressive approach. Today, they’re not just playing for victory but also to mark their presence on the points table. The general consensus? Sri Lanka might just have the edge.

However, off the field, there’s a cloud of concern. PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf has publicly voiced his apprehensions regarding the delay in visa issuance for Pakistani cricket enthusiasts and journalists wishing to attend the World Cup in India. While the issue has been simmering for some time, with the PCB even reaching out to the ICC, this is the first official statement since the World Cup’s commencement.

On the pitch, though, Sri Lanka’s spirits seem high. Their previous loss notwithstanding, the team’s commendable effort in the last game is bound to boost their morale. The inclusion of Theekshana, known for his spin prowess, could be a strategic move, especially considering Pakistan’s top order’s known vulnerability against spin.

Sri Lanka loses an early wicket

The weather in Hyderabad promises an intense game. While yesterday’s scorching 39 degrees has given way to a relatively cooler and overcast day, the sun occasionally breaks through, adding an element of unpredictability. In a pre-match spectacle, Pakistan’s pace trio – Haris Rauf, Shaheen Afridi, and Hasan Ali – engaged in a friendly contest, each aiming for the lone stump in the middle, showcasing their precision.

As the coin was tossed, both captains shared their insights.

Shanaka confidently stated, “We are going to bat first since we observed some turn in the later stages during the last couple of games. It felt great to score in the previous matches, and I’ve been working hard for it. Today, we’ve made one change: Theekshana comes in for Rajitha. We aim to hit the right areas, focusing on yorkers and variations.”

On the other side, Babar Azam, analyzing the pitch, remarked, “The pitch appears dry and favorable. The initial ten overs will be pivotal for us. We’ve been here for over a week, so we’re familiar with the conditions. We’ve made a single change: Shafique replaces Fakhar. Historically, we’ve had a good record against Sri Lanka in the World Cup.”

As the stage is set, the cricketing fraternity eagerly awaits this clash. With both teams bringing their A-game and strategic changes in their lineups, this encounter promises to be a classic. Will Pakistan extend their World Cup winning streak against Sri Lanka to 8-0, or will Sri Lanka turn the tables? Only time will tell.


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