The Asia Cup 2023 is reaching its thrilling climax, and fans are on the edge of their seats as Pakistan and Sri Lanka lock horns in a virtual semi-final at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. This penultimate Super 4 stage match will determine who will face India in the showdown on Sunday. The stakes are high, and the tension is palpable, but one unpredictable factor looms large over this critical encounter: the weather.
Before we dissect the Pakistan vs. Sri Lanka clash, it’s crucial to acknowledge India’s dominant run in the tournament. Led by the formidable Rohit Sharma, India secured their place in the final by defeating both Pakistan and Sri Lanka in their initial Super 4 matches. Even if they face a setback against Bangladesh in their last Super 4 stage match, it won’t alter their position. However, the same cannot be said for Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Both Pakistan and Sri Lanka managed victories against Bangladesh but faced defeats against India. The equation is now straightforward: the winner of the Sri Lanka vs. Pakistan match will earn the coveted spot in the final. However, there’s a twist in this tale – the weather.
Throughout the Asia Cup 2023, rain has been the unwanted guest. Most Super 4 matches, except Sri Lanka vs. Bangladesh encounter, have been affected by rain. The India vs. Pakistan match required a reserve day to conclude, and a brief stoppage occurred during the India vs. Sri Lanka clash. The weather forecasts for the Pakistan vs. Sri Lanka match paint a similar picture.
According to Accuweather, there is a high likelihood of rain disruptions during the PAK vs. SL match. Thunderstorms are predicted at various intervals, with a notable peak at 9 AM (local time), 2 PM, 5 PM, and 8 PM. The cloud cover is expected to reach approximately 96%.
The persistent rain in Colombo over the last five days has left the groundstaff with the daunting task of preparing the pitch and outfield for play. If rain does disrupt the match and there’s no reserve day, both teams will share points. In this scenario, Sri Lanka, with a superior net run rate, will advance to the final, while Pakistan’s run rate took a hit due to their heavy loss to India.
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Despite the grim weather predictions, there’s a glimmer of hope. Rainfall during daytime has generally been limited, and the Premadasa Stadium boasts an efficient drainage system. In a worst-case scenario, the match officials may aim for a curtailed game of at least 20 overs.
Team selection will be pivotal, especially if the match is shortened. Pakistan has already named their playing XI. Zaman Khan is set to make his ODI debut against Sri Lanka, stepping in for the injured Naseem Shah, who has been ruled out due to a shoulder injury. Additionally, fast bowler Haris Rauf will be absent from the match due to an injury.
Pakistan’s Playing XI: Mohammad Haris, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Salman Agha, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Zaman Khan
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