Pakistan Vs Sri Lanka ICC Cricket World Cup 2023, Match 8: Three Key Battles To Look Forward To

Two Asian giants, Pakistan and Sri Lanka clash in the match 8 of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023. Here's a look at key battles

Asia Cup 2023 Super 4: Sri Lanka vs Pakistan

Pakistan and Sri Lanka have had contrasting outcomes at the ODI Cricket World Cup 2023. Pakistan, on one hand, had a comfortable 81-run victory over Netherlands but for Sri Lanka, a crushing 102-run loss did not help their spirits as they come into this contest. (Scorecard | Schedule | Full Coverage)

Despite Pakistan's top-order faltering, Babar Azam's men still found a way to post 286 against the Dutch, mostly down to Saud Shakeel and Mohammed Rizwan's contribution in the middle-overs.

Pakistan's bowling attack then put on a show with the ball with Haris Rauf's 3/43 being the pick of the lot as the Netherlands were bowled out for 205. In Sri Lanka's case, Dasun Shanaka's side aren't in good form going into this contest. A stinging criticism back home hasn't helped things with calls for Shanaka to be replaced hogging the local media.

The 1996 World Cup winners were abysmal in their match against South Africa where the latter posted a mammoth 428 on the board, the highest WC score ever. Sri Lanka, who also have injuries to key players and form concerns, will look to take inspiration from the Asia Cup 2023 encounter where they won by two wickets (DLS).

Here are three battles to look out for the upcoming clash between Pakistan and Sri Lanka:

Shaheen Shah Afridi Vs Kusal Mendis
Pakistan's leading pace spearhead Shaheen Shah Afridi was amongst the wickets in their opening match against the Netherlands. However, Afridi has still to match ability and prowess he has showed in the previous games over the years, at the World Cup. In Kusal Mendis, he will face an attacking batter, who showed his blistering form against the Proteas with a 42-ball 76 that included eight sixes. This battle between the duo will be a mouth-watering one, for sure!

Mohammed Rizwan Vs Dunith Wellalage
Pakistan's wicketkeeper-batter Mohammed Rizwan is another hard-hitting batter who keeps the scoreboard ticking. Rizwan's middle-order presence for Pakistan is a huge boost when their top-order isn't firing. However, Rizwan will have to be at his best when he faces Sri Lanka's Dunith Wellalage, who can get assistance at Hyderabad.

Haris Rauf vs Charith Asalanka
With injured Naseem Shah out of the picture, Pakistan's pace attack is being led by Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf. The latter plucked three wickets in their win over Netherlands and with the Asian conditions known to assist reverse swing when the ball gets older, Rauf can be a lethal bowler. Sri Lanka's Charith Asalanka scored a well-made 79 off 65 deliveries in their 102-run loss to South Africa. Asalanaka is a crafty batter down the order and Lanka need him to fire to give them some chance at the ODI World Cup 2023.