Pakistan vs Sri Lanka: Second ODI Preview

Batsman faces bowler in front of packed cordon

Pakistan and Sri Lanka lock horns on Monday at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. 

Pakistan were quick enough in bouncing back from Test series defeat against the same opposition, but must follow up victory in the first ODI with more of the convincing same.

Sri Lanka will know full well that they need a stronger performance through the middle order, particularly if their openers are not going to convert promising starts.

Pakistan v Sri Lanka | Monday, 16 October | Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi | 13:00

To Win Match
Pakistan 47/100 | Tie 35/1 | Sri Lanka 18/10

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Pakistan's batting stars delivered on cue in Dubai, where Babar Azam and Shoaib Malik delivered on youth and experience for a formidable total. Failures from Ahmed Shehzad and Sarfraz Ahmed were disappointing, but not overly concerning. Pakistan, as was the case in Dubai, needed just two batsmen to reach 80 or more in Abu Dhabi for a challenging score.

Rumman Raees and Hasan Ali carried the attack well in the absence of the injured Mohammad Amir - and must do so again. Four spinners, meanwhile, shared more than half the overs - and this could well be the case in the new week, too. Conditions in Abu Dhabi might differ slightly from those experienced in Dubai, but not enough to warrant less slow bowling.

Pakistan, admittedly, benefited from a rather disjointed effort with the ball from the Sri Lankans, who are lacking a standout spearhead. The decision to overlook Lasith Malinga may well come back to bite them. Azam took his time against the opposition attack, but will again know there is great reward to be had in his patient approach.

The Sheikh Zayed Stadium hasn't been a very fruitful venue for Pakistan, who have won a mere three of their last 10 ODIs here. Their most recent ODI outing at this ground, though, resulted in triumph over the West Indies. Azam and Imad Wasim, who opened the bowling, were key then - and one surmises will be so again on Monday.

Sri Lanka
The Sri Lankans are still without an ODI series victory since July this year and, in truth, don't look like beginning to secure on Monday. Their middle order is largely fragile without the injured Angelo Mathews - and Malinga really should be there leading the attack. The others, indeed, need to step up.

Upul Tharanga, too, should genuinely consider batting first if triumphant at the toss. Opting to bowl first in the opening ODI was ostensibly the wrong choice - and more is required from himself and Niroshan Dickwella. Both relished promising starts, but neither came even close to the lofty heights reached by Malik and Azam.

They simply have to find a way to successfully combat Ali. The seamer has bagged three or more wickets in each of his last five ODIs - and was pretty impressive with his varied lengths in Dubai. Sri Lanka failed against the shorter stuff - and weren't any better against length forced right up there in the blockhole.

The islanders will have sensed Pakistan's inability to land the so-called killer blow with the ball. They were allowed to recover from 108 for six to a final 209 for eight. While the pursuit was inadequate, it said a lot for the ability of Sri Lanka's lower order. The top and middle men now just need to set, rather than follow, the example.

Verdict: Pakistan 47/100
Champions Trophy title holders for good reason, Pakistan were relatively clinical in the series opener - and are backed to take a sound two-nil lead in the five-match affair.

Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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