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Asia Cup 2023: Pakistan Chooses to Bat First Against Sri Lanka in ‘Virtual Semi-Final’

In a crucial showdown that has been likened to a “virtual semi-final,” Pakistan has decided to bat first against Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup 2023. The highly anticipated match faced a brief delay due to rain, creating further tension in this pivotal encounter.

The toss for the match was postponed as heavy rain showers descended just moments before the scheduled toss time, adding to the uncertainty surrounding this contest.

This encounter marks Pakistan’s fourth match in the tournament, and unfortunately, it has been plagued by persistent rain threats. All of Pakistan’s previous matches on the island nation were significantly affected by heavy rainfall.

Despite announcing their playing XI a day prior, Pakistan had to make some last-minute changes. Imam-ul-Haq was sidelined due to a back spasm and was replaced by Fakhar Zaman. Additionally, Saud Shakeel, who was set to play, had to be replaced by Abdullah Shafique due to a fever.

Both Pakistan and Sri Lanka are coming off demoralizing losses to India in their respective ways. Sri Lanka, in particular, missed a golden opportunity to secure a spot in the final by narrowly failing to chase down a seemingly attainable target of 214 runs against India. Dunith Wellalage’s outstanding performance with both bat and ball for Sri Lanka went in vain.

Pakistan’s loss against their arch-rivals was even more comprehensive, with a record-breaking margin of 228 runs over two disappointing days. This defeat also saw them lose two of their three premier fast bowlers, with Naseem Shah ruled out of the tournament and Haris Rauf unlikely to make another appearance.

Read more: Asia Cup 2023: Rain delays Pak vs SL match toss

Today’s match has now taken on the status of a virtual semi-final for both teams. A strong performance here could help either side redeem themselves and secure a place in the final. In the event of a rain washout, Sri Lanka would advance to the final due to their higher run rate compared to Pakistan.

Playing XI:

Pakistan:

  1. Mohammad Haris
  2. Fakhar Zaman
  3. Babar Azam (capt)
  4. Mohammad Rizwan (wkt)
  5. Abdullah Shafique
  6. Iftikhar Ahmed
  7. Shadab Khan (vice-capt)
  8. Mohammad Nawaz
  9. Shaheen Shah Afridi
  10. Mohammad Wasim
  11. Zaman Khan

Sri Lanka:

  1. Kusal Perera
  2. Pathum Nissanka
  3. Kusal Mendis (wkt)
  4. Sadeera Samarawickrama
  5. Charith Asalanka
  6. Dhananjaya de Silva
  7. Dasun Shanaka (capt)
  8. Dunith Wellalage
  9. Maheesh Theekshana
  10. Pramod Madushan
  11. Matheesha Pathirana

The stakes are high in this ‘virtual semi-final,’ and cricket fans worldwide will be eagerly watching as these two teams battle for a chance to secure their spot in the Asia Cup 2023 final.

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