Pakistan vs Sri Lanka: Fourth ODI Preview

Batsman faces bowler in front of packed cordon

We preview the fourth ODI between Pakistan and Sri Lanka to be played on Friday 19 October at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. 

Pakistan convincingly wrapped up series victory in the third ODI - and now the onus is on Sri Lanka to avoid a series whitewash, as proceedings move from Abu Dhabi to Sharjah.

Imam-ul-Haq will be eager to build on his fine century scored on ODI debut, while Dushmantha Chameera needs to balance sound economy with key wickets.

Pakistan v Sri Lanka | Friday, 19 October | Sharjah Cricket Stadium | 12:00

To Win Match
Pakistan 37/100 | Tie 35/1 | Sri Lanka 43/20

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Pakistan have taken their winning ratio in their last 10 ODI matches against the Sri Lankans to a resounding 70 percent - and will be afforded the opportunity to grow this dominant scale on Friday. They will know, too, that the last outing against their current opposition in the intermediate form of the international game, in Sharjah four years ago, brought a straightforward triumph.

The decision to play Imam-ul-Haq ahead of Ahmed Shehzad was entirely justified in Abu Dhabi, where the nephew of former captain and current chairman of selectors Inzamam-ul-Haq showed there is so much more to his selection than arguable nepotism. His steady century was calm and calculated, pledging more for the fourth match.

Rumman Raees was somewhat off colour with the new ball - and will demand a quick turnaround to show he is, indeed, more than capable of partnering Junaid Khan at the top of the attack in the absence of Mohammad Amir. Hasan Ali, meanwhile, remains in remarkable form - and continues to average three wickets across his past seven ODIs.

While it won't be a major concern, as the rest of the Sri Lankan order is floundering around him, Pakistan will be determined to successfully combat Upul Tharanga early. A centurion in the second match and half-centurion in the third, he has taken a liking to the current composition of the opposition attack, but can be throttled in the opening overs.

Sri Lanka
The visiting top- to middle-order managed to string together some promising scores on Wednesday, but - other than Tharanga - no-one had the stamina to move beyond the 28 compiled by Lahiru Thirimanne. If not Thirimanne, Chamara Kapugedera or Dinesh Chandimal simply have to stick around for a substantial period if Sri Lanka are to post a challenging total.

Chameera's return to the XI was a welcome boost. While his economy was superb, conceding less than 3.5 runs across 10 disciplined overs, the left-arm seamer also needs to strike. With just 11 wickets to show for his 16 ODIs, his penetration is lacking - and particularly evident if the other seamers are not regularly making breakthroughs either.

While batting first after winning the toss seemed the right decision in Abu Dhabi, Tharanga and company must consider chasing in Sharjah, where conditions will probably even out three or four hours into the match. That could make batting substantially easier against Pakistan's spinners and seamers.

Sri Lanka have won just four of their 23 ODIs in 2017 - an appalling ratio that could potentially bracket them with Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Ireland and other minnows for the foreseeable future. Plagued by a string of injuries, including Angelo Mathews, and hampered by the decision to overlook Lasith Malinga, they are indeed up against it.

Verdict: Pakistan 37/100
Pakistan have won 88 of their 151 ODIs against Sri Lanka and are on course for an 89th on Friday and 90th on Monday, but must ward off a tendency take their foot off the proverbial gas.

Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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