Hyderabad: Pakistan left out struggling opener Fakhar Zaman and brought in Abdullah Shafique from the side that beat the Netherlands in their first game on Friday, also in Hyderabad.
Pakistan’s openers have endured a miserable last five matches with just 35 as their highest partnership. There has only been one century stand in the 16 games this year.
Left-hander Fakhar, Pakistan’s only man to have scored a ODI double century, managed just 12 runs in a partnership of 15 with Imam-ul-Haq in Pakistan’s 81-run win against the Netherlands in Hyderabad on Friday.
Faith in top order
Fakhar, who famously smashed 210 not out against Zimbabwe in 2018, has a best of just 33 in his last 11 innings, a desperate run which followed three successive centuries against New Zealand earlier this year.
Bradburn still hopes the top-order clicks sooner rather than later. “Look, we’ve got full faith in our top order,” said New Zealander Bradburn on Monday.
“They will click at some stage and we’re open and honest to say that we’re not getting what we would like out of the powerplay as yet.”
Number three and skipper Babar Azam, the world’s top-ranked ODI batsman, also failed against the Netherlands with an 18-ball five.
“The top three have scored the majority of our runs in the period before the World Cup,” said Bradburn who praised Sri Lanka.
“Sri Lanka are a team that we’ve become familiar with over recent times and we know they have had the upper hand on us over the last year in white-ball cricket,” said Bradburn.
Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka won the toss and opted to bat in the World Cup game against Pakistan. Spinner Maheesh Theekshana comes back for Sri Lanka after missing the 102-run defeat against South Africa in their first match due to a hamstring injury, replacing pacer Kasun Rajitha.
Pakistan: Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Babar Azam (capt), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf
Sri Lanka: Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis (wk), Sadeera Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dasun Shanaka (capt), Dunith Wellalage, Maheesh Theekshana, Maheesh Pathirana, Dilshan Madushanka
Umpires: Alex Wharf (ENG) and Chris Gaffaney (NZL)
TV umpire: Nitin Menon (IND)
Match referee: Andy Pycroft (ZIM)