ODI cricket returns to Pakistan after four years as the Men In Green play host to Sri Lanka in three 50-over matches at the National Stadium in Karachi.
At the 2019 World Cup, poor performances during the first half of the tournament saw Pakistan miss out on a place in the semi-finals on net run-rate. On the other hand, Sri Lanka won three out of seven completed matches to finish sixth.
The clash between the two sides at the World Cup was washed out and it’s important to note that Pakistan have had the upper hand when it comes to recent ODI matches between the two sides, having won all of their last six completed matches against the Lankans.
Ground Detail and Team Combination
There hasn’t been an ODI played in Karachi in 10 years, so to look back at data from previous 50-over international games at the ground will be a futile exercise.
More recently, three T20Is were played between Pakistan and West Indies in 2018, in which spinners (6.70) were more economical than pacers (8.70), but the bowling strike rates are very similar (spin - 21.8, pace - 20.9). With fast bowlers likely to bowl more overs, you might want to form your fantasy team with an extra pacer.
Also, with Sri Lanka touring Pakistan with a weakened squad, the hosts are firm favourites and hence, you will be well advised to pick more players from Sarfaraz Ahmed’s side.
Babar Azam has been one of the finest limited-overs batsmen in world cricket since his debut in 2015. He has been in very impressive form this year, starring with 474 runs at an average of 67.71 at the World Cup with 30+ scores in each of his last seven innings. He has a good record against Sri Lanka too, averaging 58.33 with two centuries from seven innings.
In the absence of Angelo Mathews, Kusal Perera and Dimuth Karunaratne, it’s an opportunity for the talented Avishka Fernando to cement his place in the Sri Lankan line-up. Since May 2019, the right-handed batsman has scored 372 runs at an average of 46.50 with one century and two fifties to his name. With a career strike rate of 98.22 so far, you can expect him to score some quick runs which can get you more fantasy points.
Mohammad Amir’s ODI career seemed to be going nowhere after a string of poor performances post the 2017 Champions Trophy. He was, in fact, a very surprising selection for the 2019 World Cup where he shone with 17 wickets at a strike rate of 25.7. You can expect Amir to bowl prominently during the death overs which, as we all well know, is a great time for wicket taking.
All-rounders are worth their weight in gold when it comes to fantasy cricket and that is why we think Wanindu Hasaranga could be a player who can make a positive impact for your team. The 22-year-old has played just 10 ODIs and hasn’t yet quite made the impact that he would have liked. During the recent T20I series against New Zealand though, he got a wicket every 14.5 deliveries. That, and a batting strike rate of 113.36 in List A cricket, make them a good all-round option here.
Some thunderstorms are expected in Karachi on Friday. So, you might want to look at players who will be more involved in the first half of the game depending on the toss.
Suggested FanFight Team
Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Babar Azam (c), Imam-ul-Haq, Haris Sohail, Avishka Fernando, Imad Wasim, Wanindu Hasaranga, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Isuru Udana, Kasun Rajitha.