Home > News >

Asia Cup 2014 Final Preview: Sri Lanka and Pakistan face-off in title clash

Sri Lanka beat Pakistan in their round robin clash in the Asia Cup 2014 © AFP
Sri Lanka beat Pakistan in their round robin clash in the Asia Cup 2014 © AFP

By Nishad Pai Vaidya

Mar 7, 2014

It is fair to say that two clear favourites of the tournament have made it through to the final of the Asia Cup 2014. Pakistan and Sri Lanka have had good league campaigns and are moving into the final on an even handed note. While Sri Lanka may have beaten Pakistan in their league game, things are very different in the final and one can expect Pakistan to be buoyed after their last two victories. Sri Lanka have been the more clinical side in the tournament, but Pakistan are an unpredictable opposition.

It is interesting to note that both Sri Lanka and Pakistan had tough victories against Bangladesh in their respective last league games coming into the final. While Pakistan chased down a big total courtesy a Shahid Afridi special, Sri Lanka needed the grit of Angelo Mathews to get them through to victory in a tricky run-chase. This will serve as a good wake up call for both sides leading up to the final.

Sri Lanka made a few changes to their side against Bangladesh and one may feel Lasith Malinga would come back. But, it would be interesting to see if they would persist with Sachithra Senanayake or play the Suranga Lakmal with Malinga coming back. Chathuranga de Silva proved himself with the bat and was decent with the ball, so he should hold on to his spot. Thisara Perera will also hold on to his spot as he is their reliable all-rounder lower down the order.

The batting order is quite good with Kusal Perera and Lahiru Thirimanne at the top. Kumar Sangakkara is in good touch and so is Mathews. But, there are some concerns about Mahela Jayawardene as he hasn’t been in very good touch off-late. Dinesh Chandimal may also warrant a return to the side in place of Ashan Priyanjan.

Pakistan have a good settled unit and it seems as if only Mohammad Talha’s spot may be in danger after the last game. But, then that would also allow Junaid Khan to get back into the line-up. They may persist with Abdul Rehman as well although he had a shocker against Bangladesh. Saeed Ajmal and Afridi are the key men with the ball as the pitch is slow and they can hold up the middle overs. Plus, they may also have Fawad Alam after his decent performance against Bangladesh. He may only see himself out if Sharjeel Khan is fit. Or perhaps, Sohaib Maqsood can make way for Sharjeel to come in, which would allow Alam to hold on to his spot.

In the batting, Ahmed Shehzad is the key batsman at the top. He can attack and has also shown the ability to stay in the middle. If Sharjeel doesn’t play, then Mohammad Hafeez will open the batting with Shehzad. Misbah-ul-Haq and Umar Akmal are in the middle-order and have contrasting styles to boot.

Thus, the defending champions have a tough task ahead as they face Sri Lanka. This should be a good game and the spinners can dominate courtesy the slow surface.

Squads:

Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews (c), Kushal Perera, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Mahela Jayawardene, Dinesh Chandimal, Ashan Priyanjan, Chathuranga de Silva, Sachithra Senanayake, Lasith Malinga, Thisara Perera, Suranga Lakmal, Dhammika Prasad, Ajantha Mendis.

Pakistan: Misbah-ul-Haq (c), Ahmed Shehzad, Sharjeel Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Umar Akmal (wk), Sohaib Maqsood, Fawad Alam, Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal, Umar Gul, Abdul Rehman, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Talha, Bilawal Bhatti, Anwar Ali.

Time: 8:00 GMT I 13:30 IST

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 20, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Kolkata

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Dubai

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (19:00 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014 (09:30 IST)   at Dhaka

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Hamilton

More

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 72 runs

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 21, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 6 wkts

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 17, 2014  at Dharamsala

India won by 59 runs

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 14, 2014  at Visakhapatnam

Match cancelled

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 12, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Australia won by 1 run

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test at Dubai

Videos

AB de Villiers praises team after win in 1st ODI

Pakistan hold advantage at stumps on Day 3 of 1st Test against Australia

Asad Shafiq emerges as dependable No 6 for Pakistan

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Mitchell Johnson shows signs of effectiveness on unhelpful surfaces

South Africa vs New Zealand 2014: Vital for Brendon McCullum to find form quickly

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 Duleep Trophy India New Zealand New Zealand vs South Africa New Zealand vs South Africa 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of New Zealand 2014 South Africa vs New Zealand South Africa vs New Zealand 2014

Duleep Trophy 2014: Central Zone lead by 81 runs as North Zone bowled out for 457

Laxmi Ratan Shukla to lead Bengal in upcoming One-Day series

David Warner feels lucky to have equalled Don Bradman’s record

Kapil Dev’s Dev Musco Lighting accused of inflated costs by GCA

VVS Laxman advises budding batsmen to score big hundreds

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Spin hunt continues for visitors

Sarfaraz Ahmed may have trumped the Akmals as Pakistan’s wicketkeeper-batsman across formats

Don Bradman — even if every chance he ever gave in his career was accepted, he would still remain head and shoulders above the others

Len Hutton’s hundred gets reported as illness

Viv Richards’ 6/41 bowls West Indies to a thrilling victory over India

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

642 Posts | 9 Fans

Virat Kohli's Family Meets Anushka Sharma

Top Sex Positions: Frog Princess

NGOs pursue education for all

Google partners Oxford University to teach machines to think

Nokia turnaround since handset unit sale continues, reports $950 million Q3 net profit

Duleep Trophy 2014: Central Zone lead by 81 runs as North Zone bowled out for 457

Farah Khan’s ‘Happy New Year’ is the Typical Over the top Masala and Action

International programme in Animal Husbandry

BREAKING NEWS: Fire on the sets of Yeh Hai Mohabbatein and Kumkum Bhagya

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: David Warner century goes vain as Pakistan lead by 151 at day 3 close

Pavitra Rishta to air its final episode tomorrow

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here