ICC World Cup 2023: Pakistan badly need runs from Babar Azam

Pakistan's biggest problem is their opening pair

By Anis Sajan

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Pakistan's Babar Azam walks towards the pavilion after being dismissed by Netherlands' Colin Ackermann during their first match. — PTI
Pakistan's Babar Azam walks towards the pavilion after being dismissed by Netherlands' Colin Ackermann during their first match. — PTI

Published: Mon 9 Oct 2023, 10:37 PM

Last updated: Mon 9 Oct 2023, 10:38 PM

Just as India enjoy a perfect record (7-0) against Pakistan in ODI World Cup, Pakistan have the wood over Sri Lanka, winning all the seven times they have met in ODI World Cup.

Sri Lanka would like to get their first win over the South Asian rivals on Tuesday.


They will certainly take inspiration from their victory over Pakistan in the Asia Cup last month.

Sri Lankan bowlers were taken to the cleaners by South African batsmen who scored 428 after being put in and their bowlers went for plenty and that must be a big concern for captain Dasun Shanaka.


With their main spinner missing, the return of Maheesh Theekshana might give some respite to their bowling as it looked totally out of sorts.

Sri Lanka must have lost the game by 102 runs but they would be happy to see three of their batsmen scoring half centuries.

And in Kusal Mendis they have a batsman who has scored four half centuries in his last six innings at a strike of above 100.

If he can come good again Sri Lanka will fancy their chances.

Pakistan are coming on the back of a win against Netherlands but as much the scoreline suggests, a victory of 80 runs, there were moments in the match when Pakistan struggled, specially losing three early wickets for 38.

While defending the total, there was a time when the Netherlands were in the hunt to chase down the target after being 120/2 but lost their way.

Pakistan's biggest problem is their opening pair as both the openers — Fakhar Zaman and Iman ul Haq — have not fired for a long time which has put pressure on skipper Babar Azam and the rest of the batting.

Pakistan will dearly hope Babar, the number one batsman in ODI cricket, gets back to his best. He has not scored many runs after his hundred against Nepal.

Even though Sri Lanka have won their last game against Pakistan, one would back Pakistan who look a more settled side than the islanders.

I won't be surprised if Pakistan extend their perfect record against Sri Lanka in the ODI World Cup.


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