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Pakistan set to renew battle with Sri Lanka in rescheduled ODI amid bright forecast
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Pakistan set to renew battle with Sri Lanka in rescheduled ODI amid bright forecast

Karachi's wait for a historic return of ODI cricket was prolonged over the weekend by relentless rain and a waterlogged outfield, causing the organizers to push forward the second encounter to Monday (September 30).

The main topic of discussion following the Sri Lankan squad's arrival in the country was the security arrangements in place but that has now taken a backseat with persistent unseasonal rains creating all sorts of problems for the groundstaff.

Already plagued by the withdrawal of ten top players, Sri Lanka's woes were further burdened for not being able to train according to their wishes owing to the dreary weather conditions.

The past track record between the two sides does not read too kindly for the tourists since they were whitewashed by Pakistan 5-0 in their previous meeting in a bilateral series back in 2017.

Perhaps the gap amongst the two teams is epitomized by Sri Lanka's depleted batting stocks, whereby none of their batsmen feature in the top 50 for the ICC rankings for ODI batting while Babar Azam is right up there at the No. 3 slot.

A new dawn awaits Pakistan, who are eager to begin their home season on a strong note in front of an exuberant local crowd.

Pakistan start out as favourites in their first series under head coach-cum-chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq, who has had a fair share of criticism directed at his appointment in the new role.

The hosts might not look to tinker too much with their line-up as they bank on a quality top-order and an all-round bowling attack intending to exploit the moisture in the National Stadium pitch.

Fakhar's volatile form under the scanner

Fakhar Zaman had a torrid time during Pakistan's World Cup campaign where he could manage just 186 runs at an ordinary average of 23.25.

Fakhar's form did not experience much improvement in his short stint with Glamorgan in England's Vitality Blast and he was further ruled out of the first half of the pre-series conditioning camp owing to a knee injury.

 Fakhar Zaman walks off after being dismissed ©AFP

Fakhar Zaman walks off after being dismissed ©AFP

The left-handed batsman, who shot to prominence with his explosive performances in Pakistan's Champions Trophy triumph two years ago, desperately requires some runs under his belt to boost his confidence.

Hasaranga - Sri Lanka's spin weapon

Sri Lanka's young and relatively inexperienced squad possess a host of names who have the ability to outplay oppositions, one of which is leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga.

The 22-year-old made the headlines when he claimed a hat-trick on ODI debut in the home game against Zimbabwe in July 2017.

Hasaranga has thus far played only ten games but is known for having an array of variations in his bowling arsenal.

Squads

Pakistan: Sarfaraz Ahmed (c), Babar Azam (vc), Abid Ali, Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Hasnain, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Shadab Khan, Usman Shinwari, Wahab Riaz.

Sri Lanka: Lahiru Thirimanne (c), Danushka Gunathilaka, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Avishka Fernando, Oshada Fernando, Shehan Jayasuriya, Dasun Shanaka, Minod Bhanuka, Angelo Perera, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lakshan Sandakan, Nuwan Pradeep, Isuru Udana, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara

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