Pakistan defeated Sri Lanka by six wickets in the first ODI of the five-match series at Dambulla on Saturday. The visitors will now take on Sri Lanka in the second ODI at Pallekele in Kandy on Wednesday.
Pakistan are currently placed eighth in the latest ICC ODI Rankings and they will have to win the ongoing series by a good margin in order to improve their chances of securing a place to play the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, which is supposed to be held in England.
Bangladesh have already qualified for the Champions Trophy after defeating India in the ODI series at home and they further sealed their berth after registering a win over South Africa in the second ODI of the ongoing series at home.
Now the current scenario is that either Pakistan or West Indies will make it to play the Champions Trophy 2017.
After clinching a memorable victory over Sri Lanka in the Test series (that too after nine long years), Pakistan had their eyes set on the ODI series. They played some good all-round cricket to outclass the Lankans in the first ODI.
Pakistan captain Azhar Ali had won the toss and asked the hosts to bat first. Sri Lanka could only manage to put up a total of 255 runs in their alotted 50 overs. The Pakistani batsmen chased down the total with ease in 45 overs, courtesy a match-winning century from Mohammad Hafeez and a half century from Shoaib Malik.
Dinesh Chandimal was the only Lankan batsmen who went past the fifty-run mark while the rest struggled against the Pakistani bowling attack. Hafeez picked up four wickets in his 10 overs conceding just 41 runs, a performance for which he was awarded the man of the match in the first ODI.
Lankan bowlers could not get their line and length correct and they were all over the place. Their pace spearhead Lasith Malinga proved to be expensive and that dealt a blow to the home side.
For the second ODI, Sri Lanka would want to make a few changes in order to get things right. On the other hand, Pakistan would look to retain the winning combination.
Here are the expected line ups for the second ODI:
Sri Lanka: Kusal Perera, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Upul Tharanga, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Angelo Mathews (C), Thisara Perera, Seekkuge Prasanna, Sachithra Senanayake, Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal.
Pakistan: Ahmed Shehzad, Azhar Ali (C), Mohammad Hafeez, Mukhtar Ahmed, Shoaib Malik, Asad Shafiq, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Yasir Shah, Anwar Ali, Mohammad Irfan, Rahat Ali.