In the commune: Pakistan faces Sri Lanka
Cricketing giants Pakistan and Sri Lanka face off today in what promises to be an exciting World Cup match at the R Premadasa stadium in Colombo. Pakistan's victory against Kenya in their first World Cup match has given them great confidence and the statistics seem to be in their favour as they take on the formidable Sri Lankans.
We asked Tribune bloggers who their favourites are and what they predict will unfold at the crease today:
Imran A Khan
Pakistan defeated Sri Lanka in their last two encounters on this ground, so Team Green is my pick. Umar Akmal scored his maiden ODI ton on this ground against the likes of Malinga and Mendis and averaged 55.50 against the Lankans in the five games he has played against them. Sri Lanka’s strength is Mahela Jayawardene. With an impressive season last year he is a threat for every team in this competition.
As disappointing as Afridi's batting was in their opening match, I just know (wishful thinking) that Boom Boom is going to dazzle the crowds with the bat today. I am expecting a better performance from Ahmed Shehzad and hope that he shows us the magic that was there in the New Zealand series. Playing against Muralitharan an and Jayawardane who have a home advantage is daunting; I hope our players keep it together and give it their best shot.
Pakistan's middle order is beaming with confidence after their match against Kenya. The openers, though, will be looking to get some runs after failing in the first game. Pakistan camp is busy contemplating whether to go in with three specialist bowlers again or to drop Razzaq and add an extra bowler. Given the form the current middle order is in, it may not be such a bad idea, dare I say, to drop Razzaq and bring in a fourth bowler.
Saad Hassan Khan
The bowlers will certainly have their work cut out if they are to perform well against a Lankan batting line-up that boasts the likes of the prolific Jayawardene and the ever reliable Sangakkara. With both teams reliant on fine batting line-ups and balanced bowling attacks the game should be a cracker, but I would still say, out of pure patriotism albeit, that the scales are slightly tipped in Pakistan’s favour.
Knowing that our team is so unpredictable many of us are nervous but the nerves are part of the game. I am excited to see Shahid Afridi bowl against Sri Lanka and whether he manages to secure another record of taking all 10 wickets. I also want to see him overwhelm Sri Lanka with his batting like he did way back in 1996. It’s time for him to remind them of their forgotten past.
Six wins out of six is what Pakistan have against Sri Lanka in the World Cups, the last of which came in their triumphant 1992 campaign. Going into today's crunch match in Colombo, history and statistics will count for nothing as both teams look for early qualification. Sri Lanka, with home support and favourable conditions, enjoy an upper hand but much will depend on Pakistan's mood on the day: world domination or self-destruction.
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