CWC 2019: PAK vs SL Preview – Rain threat outlines battle for consistency

After a horrid start to their respective World Cup campaigns, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are slowly coming into their own. Both teams lost their opening matches but bounced back in commendable fashion to win their second. As they head into a face-off at Bristol, both subcontinent sides will be aiming for only one thing – consistency.

Being bundled out for 105 in their first World Cup match wasn’t the ideal scenario Pakistan had hoped for. But they turned up dramatically in their second, upsetting firm favourites and hosts England in a high-scoring encounter. It was a complete team effort, with runs coming from most batsmen and bowlers doing their job really well. They will be riding sky-high on momentum.

Sri Lanka too had a similar first outing. A drubbing from New Zealand sent them into a tizzy. They couldn’t pick a single wicket against the Kiwis after being gunned down for 136. Their captain, Dimuth Karunaratne who was returning after a long hiatus, was furious with their batting performance. Against Afghanistan though, they put up a decent total. But, Sri Lanka will need more than decent if they intend to stay in the hunt longer.

Match info

Pakistan vs Sri Lanka, 11th match

County Ground, Bristol (03:00 PM)


It’s shocking how a team as inconsistent as Pakistan holds a straight 7-0 lead over Sri Lanka in the history of World Cups. Sri Lanka will have to come up with something really special to beat them and open their head-to-head count. They’ll only have to overcome one hurdle – the weather. With heavy showers (90%) predicted in Bristol for Friday, it really gets down to whether there will be any play at all.

Team tactics

Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz decimating the English batting was the biggest positive for Pakistan as they announced themselves with a thrilling win against the hosts. They would be keen to bowl with their tail up at all times against a Sri Lankan batting order that is a combination of youth and experience. Their batting has also clicked at the right time.

Nuwan Pradeep’s late inclusion benefitted Sri Lanka to a great extent as they nailed Afghanistan down despite an under par total. Malinga’s on-point yorkers only raised their confidence. Their batsmen will have to deliver on the world’s biggest stage but will need their captain to lead by example. Veterans like Thisara Perera and Angelo Matthews will have to take matters in their own hands and play to their strengths.

Key players

Probable XI

Having struck just the perfect team combination and balance to topple England, Pakistan should most likely go in unchanged against Sri Lanka. Shoaib Malik and Asif Ali were both underutilised after being brought in last game. They would await another opportunity to go out and express themselves freely.

Pakistan: Imam-ul-Haq, F Zaman, B Azam, M Hafeez, S Ahmed (c & wk), S Malik, A Ali, S Khan, W Riaz, H Ali, M Amir

Sri Lanka went in as many as four frontline seamers with Perera as the 5th bowling option against Afghanistan. If the wicket at Bristol isn’t a flat track, they might consider bringing in another spinner in tandem with Dhananjaya de Silva.

Sri Lanka: D Karunaratne (c), K Perera (wk), L Thirimanne, K Mendis, A Mathews, de Silva, J Mendis, T Perera, I Udana, N Pradeep, L Malinga