Following an impressive outing in the 3rd one-dayer, Pakistan will be keen to seal the five-match one-day international series when they take on Sri Lanka in the 4th ODI in Abu Dhabi on Christmas Day Wednesday.
Where to Watch Live
The 4th ODI is scheduled for a 4.30 pm IST start on Christmas day with the match set to begin in Pakistan a half-hour earlier at 4 pm. Sony Six and Geo Super are the broadcasters in India and Pakistan respectively. While there is no official live streaming option in India, viewers can live stream the match free online by clicking HERE. To catch the action in Sri Lanka, click the Carlton Sports Network link HERE for free live streaming. Viewers in the US can catch the match live online HERE.
The first two ODIs were closely-fought, with only a wicket there, or a boundary here separating the two sides. However, with the series tied at 1-1, Pakistan finally found their groove with both the bat and the ball in the same match to ease past Sri Lanka in the third one-day international on Sunday to take a vital 2-1 lead.
The bowling improvement, which saw Sri Lanka bowled out for 213, was largely thanks to the return of the experienced Umar Gul, who made a comeback into the Pakistan side after a nine-month injury-enforced absence.
"We all know that Gul is a very good bowler," Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews said after the 3rd ODI. "He had been hit by injury but we know what kind of a bowler he is and we had to be a bit cautious. Unfortunately, we lost a couple of wickets to him and he got us on the back-foot early on."
"We were missing his experience in the death overs and his return has certainly boosted our bowling," Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq added on Gul.
Gul's wickets at the top ensure Sri Lanka were always behind the eight ball when chasing the massive total of 326 for five, posted largely thanks to the back-in-form Mohammed Hafeez, who made a brilliant unbeaten 140, for his second century of the series.
"I was trying to not get bogged down," Hafeez said of his wonderful knock. "I was trying to play technical shots. Ahmed [Shehzad] played really well, he took the pressure on and the partnership gave us momentum. The bowlers did a great job on this sort of pitch."
Pakistan has not chased in this ODI series so far, with the designated home side batting first in all three matches. So, it will be interesting to see how Pakistan's relatively inexperienced batting lineup handles the pressure of a chase.
"The way this team is playing, all the batsmen are in form and all of them have been scoring runs, and big runs," Misbah said. "So the confidence is high and even if you are chasing, you remain optimistic and know how to build your innings, how to pace the chase. So hopefully, we will be able to bat the same way in a chase and keep performing like this."
Expected lineups: Pakistan: Shehzad, Sharjeel, Hafeez, Maqsood, Misbah (capt), Akmal, Afridi, Ali, Gul, Ajmal, Junaid.
Sri Lanka: Dilshan, Kusal Perera, Sangakkara (wk), Chandimal, Mathews (capt), Priyanjan, Thisara Perera, Prasanna, Kulasekara, Senanayake, Malinga.