Anticipation brews as Pakistan and Afghanistan gear up for a captivating three-match ODI series on August 22 at Hambantota’s Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium. A thrilling precursor to upcoming Asia Cup and World Cup clashes.
Pakistan and Afganistan cricket fans are eagerly anticipating a riveting three-match ODI series between Afghanistan and Pakistan, set to kick off on August 22 at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium in Hambantota. The clash between these two formidable teams promises to provide a tantalizing preview of their impending showdown in the Asia Cup and the highly anticipated World Cup clash, both scheduled to take place in the coming months.
Despite not being in the same group for the Asia Cup, Afghanistan and Pakistan are expected to cross paths, setting the stage for an intense rivalry. The three-match series, strategically scheduled in Sri Lanka where the Asia Cup is also set to be held, offers both teams a valuable opportunity to test their mettle before the grander tournaments.
Afghanistan enters the series riding high on their recent successes, having secured a triumphant 2-1 victory against Bangladesh in their most recent ODI series. This victory was especially impressive as Afghanistan managed to defeat Bangladesh on their home turf, a feat that few teams have accomplished in recent years. Pakistan, on the other hand, displayed their prowess by convincingly defeating New Zealand in their previous ODI assignment on home soil. However, conditions in Hambantota might challenge both teams, as the pitch may not be as batting-friendly as what they are accustomed to.
The last T20I encounter between these two sides saw Afghanistan emerge victorious, defeating Pakistan 2-1 in a series held in Sharjah. Although Afghanistan can draw positives from this result, it’s important to note that Pakistan had fielded a second-string team during that short series. The upcoming ODI series presents a tougher challenge for Afghanistan, with stars like Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Shaheen Afridi, and Haris Rauf bolstering Pakistan’s squad.
- Match: Afghanistan vs Pakistan, 1st ODI
- Date: August 22, 2023
- Time: 3:00 PM local time
- Venue: Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium, Hambantota
Weather and Conditions:
While no rain is expected, the match day in Hambantota might be slightly cloudy. The previous ODI in the same venue saw Sri Lanka’s seamers dominate the Afghanistan lineup, indicating that bowlers could hold a significant advantage.
The Afghan team will be banking on the strong performances of their openers, who showcased their prowess against Bangladesh. There’s an expectation for runs from Najibullah Zadran, who has been going through a lean run. The return of Noor Ahmed to the squad raises questions about his immediate inclusion in the playing XI.
Probable XI: Rahmanullah Gurbaz (WK), Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmant Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi (C), Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Azmatullah Omarzai, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Mohammad Saleem
Pakistan has introduced Tayyab Tahir, Faheem Ashraf, and Saud Shakeel to their squad. While Saud Shakeel has made an impact in Test matches, his performance in ODIs is yet to shine, making his selection uncertain. Bowling allrounder Faheem Ashraf is also likely to make his comeback if conditions permit.
Probable XI: Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam (C), Saud Shakeel/Tayyab Tahir, Mohammad Rizwan (WK), Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz/Faheem Ashraf, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, Naseem Shah
As cricket fans brace themselves for an exhilarating encounter, the series presents an opportunity for both teams to fine-tune their strategies and prepare for the fierce battles that lie ahead in the Asia Cup and the World Cup. The first ODI promises to be a gripping contest that will set the tone for the rest of the series and the upcoming tournaments.