Pakistan vs Sri Lanka: Preview and Prediction

Can Pakistan beat Sri Lanka and seal a place in the finals?

After suffering defeat at the hands of India on consecutive days, Pakistan and Sri Lanka will face each other in a Super Four encounter to seal a place in the final of the 2023 Asia Cup at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Thursday. 

Pakistan is likely to be without the services of Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah in the match as the duo got injured in their crunch encounter against India. Shahnawaz Dahani and Zaman Khan have been called up as their backups and may get a chance to play against Sri Lanka. 

Sri Lanka has no injury concerns of their own but would like to be cautious as the ICC World Cup beckons. Both the teams have defeated Bangladesh and are tied on two points each. In case the match gets abandoned, Sri Lanka will advance to the final due to their superior net run rate.

What have they done so far? 

Pakistan beat Nepal in the first group-stage fixture of the 2023 Asia Cup by 238 runs. The innings was marked by centuries from Babar Azam and Iftikhar Ahmed while Shadab Khan’s four-wicket haul ripped apart the opposition’s batting setup. 

Their next match against India was abandoned midway through the match. India was all out for 266 with the pace trio of Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, and Naseem Shah picking up all the wickets. 

Pakistan’s first Super Four stage encounter was against Bangladesh where they restricted the opposition to a measly score of 193. Rauf and Shah shared 7 wickets between each other while bowling just 6 overs or less each. Imam-Ul-Haq’s 78 and Mohammad Rizwan’s 63 not out helped Pakistan chase the target with 7 wickets in hand. 

Their match against arch-rivals India was spread out over two days but India came out on top. KL Rahul and Virat Kohli stayed unbeaten in their centuries as they posted a mammoth total of 356-2. Kuldeep Yadav’s five-wicket haul bowled out Pakistan for 128 in only 32 overs. 

Sri Lanka defeated Bangladesh in their first Asia Cup group stage encounter after the latter were all out for 164. Matheesha Pathirana took a four-wicket haul while Sadeera Samarawickrama and Charith Asalanka’s half-centuries guided them to a five-wicket win. 

Afghanistan goofed up their NRR scenario and ended up succumbing to a defeat in a close match against Sri Lanka in their final group stage encounter. Propelled by Kusal Mendis’ 92, Sri Lanka scored 291-8. Kasun Rajitha’s four-wicket haul and Dhananjaya de Silva’s two wickets in the last over of the match helped the co-hosts win by 2 runs. 

Against Bangladesh in the Super Four, Sri Lanka posted 257-9 with Samarawickrama’s 93 being the highlight. Maheesh Theekshana, Dasun Shanaka, and Pathirana shared nine wickets amongst each other to bowl out Bangladesh at 236. 

In a turning track against India, Sri Lanka bowled well to make India all out at 213. Dunith Wellalage’s five-wicket haul and Charith Asalanka’s four wickets stood out. de Silva and Wellalage played a valiant knock in the 40s but the co-hosts fell short by 41 runs.  

Head to Head Record 

There have been 155 encounters between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in ODI internationals, with the former gaining the upper hand on 92 times. The latter won only on 58 occasions with one match ending in a tie and five getting abandoned. 

Although the two sides played against each other on numerous occasions in Tests and T20Is, their last ODI encounter was way back in September 2019 when Pakistan defeated Sri Lanka by 5 wickets in Karachi. 

Sri Lanka scored 297-9 with Danushka Gunathilaka’s 133 off 134 being the highlight of the innings. Fakhar Zaman and Abid Ali played a solid 76 and 74 respectively as Iftikhar Ahmed chased the total down for Pakistan with 10 balls remaining. 

Key Players

Dunith Wellalage played a handy knock with the bat and the ball against India

Dunith Wellalage: On a turning track in Colombo, Wellalage will be expected to once again weave his magic with the ball to pick up wickets. 

Pakistan’s Babar Azam is a good player of spin and his wicket will be crucial alongside the likes of Mohammad Rizwan, Iftikhar Ahmed, and Salman Agha who will be aiming to put in a better performance after the collapse against India.

Shadab Khan: In the possible absence of Rauf and Naseem, Shadab will have to take the responsibility of picking up wickets in the middle overs. The wrist-spinner has been out of form for some time but did pick the crucial wicket of Rohit Sharma in the last match.

The spinner did pick up wickets against Nepal but Sri Lanka will be a different challenge considering their batters are used to playing spin-bowling on the pitches of Colombo.

Predicted XIs

Sri Lanka: Pathum Nissanka, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Mendis (wk), Sadeera Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dasun Shanaka ©, Dunith Wellalage, Maheesh Theekshana, Kasun Rajitha, Matheesha Pathirana 

Pakistan: Fakhar Zaman, Imam-Ul-Haq, Babar Azam ©, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Salman Agha, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Faheem Ashraf, Shaheen Afridi, Shahnawaz Dahani


Azam’s men were wounded against India quite literally and missing the pair of Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah could hurt any team in international cricket. On the other hand, the Lankan Lions put in a spirited performance against the Men in Blue and Shanaka would be hoping to lead his men into the final of the competition.