In the upcoming 2023 Asia Cup Super 4 clash in Colombo, Pakistan is set to face defending champions Sri Lanka, and it’s expected that Pakistan will make some changes to their playing XI following their significant 228-run loss to India. This is mainly due to injuries affecting their key fast bowlers like Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf.
One potential change may involve bringing in left-handed batsman Saud Shakeel to replace Agha Salman. While Saud Shakeel has limited experience in One Day Internationals with 76 runs in 6 matches at a strike rate of 71.02, he has made significant contributions in Test cricket, including a double century against Sri Lanka.
Agha Salman, on the other hand, has struggled in the Asia Cup matches and is also dealing with an injury sustained against India, which could further contribute to his absence in the upcoming game.
Considering the spin-friendly conditions in Colombo, as witnessed in the recent India vs. Sri Lanka match, there is a likelihood that Pakistan may opt for Usama Mir instead of Faheem Ashraf, though this decision remains uncertain due to overcast weather conditions.
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Due to the injury concerns of Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf, Pakistan may choose to replace them with Zaman Khan and Mohammad Wasim Jr.
It’s worth noting that the availability of both Haris and Naseem not only for Pakistan’s last Super 4 match against Sri Lanka but also for the final, should Pakistan qualify, remains uncertain.
With both Pakistan and Sri Lanka having 2 points after two Super 4 matches, their upcoming encounter essentially becomes a virtual semi-final. The winner of this match will face India in the final. In case of a rain washout, Sri Lanka will qualify for the final based on their superior net run rate (-0.200) compared to Pakistan (-1.892).
Pakistan’s expected playing XI:
Imam ul Haq
Babar Azam (Captain)
Mohammad Rizwan (Wicketkeeper)
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