In what is virtually the semi-final of the Asia Cup 2023 on Thursday, the toss for the match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan was delayed after rain started just minutes before the toss was due.
The crucial match is the fourth Pakistan clash in the tournament that is threatened by rains. Previously, all games the Green Shirts have played in the Island nation were affected by heavy showers.
Both sides are coming off dispiriting losses to India in their own way. Sri Lanka could have all but booked a ticket to the final had they chased down what appeared a very gettable target of 214 against India on Tuesday, but Dunith Wellalage’s heroics with bat and ball fell just short.
Pakistan’s defeat at their biggest rivals’ hands was more comprehensive; they lost by a record 228 runs over two horror days that also saw them lose two of their three premier fast bowlers.
Moreover, Naseem Shah has been ruled out of the tournament, and Haris Rauf is almost equally unlikely to feature again.
Today’s game is now a virtual semi-final for both sides, and one strong performance will give them the chance to make amends for it all in the final. If the match today is washed out, Sri Lanka will fix its place in the final since they have a higher run rate than the Green Shirts.
Pakistan: Mohammad Haris, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam (capt), Mohammad Rizwan (wkt), Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan (vice-capt), Mohammad Nawaz, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Wasim, Zaman Khan
Sri Lanka (possible): 1 Dimuth Karunaratne, 2 Pathum Nissanka, 3 Kusal Mendis (wk), 4 Sadeera Samarawickrama, 5 Charith Asalanka, 6 Dhananjaya de Silva, 7 Dasun Shanka (capt), 8 Dunith Wellalage, 9 Maheesh Theekshana, 10 Kasun Rajitha, 11 Matheesha Pathirana.
More to follow…