Pakistan will play for their last Super 4 clash in the 2023 Asia Cup against defending champions Sri Lanka, scheduled for Thursday in Colombo.
The Men in Green are likely to go with a different playing XI after facing a 228-run loss to India, primarily because their frontline pacers, including Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf suffering from niggling injuries.
Pakistan might bring in left-handed batter Saud Shakeel for Agha Salman. However, Saud Shakeel has represented Pakistan only a few times in the One Day International format, where he scored 76 runs in 6 matches at a strike rate of 71.02. Nonetheless, he has played impactful innings for Pakistan in Test format, including a double-hundred against Sri Lanka.
On the contrary, Agha Salman has struggled to deliver well in all the matches he has played so far in the Asia Cup, but now his face injury that came against India can also be a contributing factor in his expected absence from the upcoming game.
Given the spin-favorable surface in Colombo, as seen in the last match between India and Sri Lanka, it is likely that Usama Mir will be introduced instead of going with Faheem Ashraf; however, with the overcast conditions, that decision remains uncertain.
Pakistan is most likely to go with Zaman Khan and Mohammad Wasim Jr. in place of Naseem and Rauf since both of them are battling with their niggle injuries.
It is worth noting that it is highly probable that both Haris and Naseem will not only miss Pakistan’s last Super 4 match against Sri Lanka but also their availability for the final also remains uncertain if Pakistan makes it there.
With Pakistan and Sri Lanka both having 2 points after two Super 4 matches, their encounter is now a virtual semi-final – whoever wins will meet India in the final.
If the Sri Lanka vs. Pakistan match is washed out due to rain, Sri Lanka will qualify for the final as they hold a superior net run rate (-0.200) compared to Pakistan (-1.892).
Pakistan’s expected playing XI:
Fakhar Zaman, Imam ul Haq, Babar Azam (C), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf/Usama Mir, Shaheen Afridi, Zaman Khan, Mohammad Wasim Jr.
Pakistan squad for Asia Cup:
Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam (captain), Salman Ali Agha, Iftikhar Ahmed, Saud Shakeel, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Haris, Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Mohammad Nawaz, Usama Mir, Faheem Ashraf, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi