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Asia Cup 2014: Unpredictable Pakistan take on unbeaten Lankans in final

DHAKA: Pakistan will square off against Sri Lanka in the final of the Asia Cup 2014 at Sher-e-Bangla Stadium at Mirpur on Saturday (today), ARY News reports.

Sri Lankan Captain Angelo Matthews had said after defeating the Indian team that “do those little things right”.  Asia Cup 2014, a tournament full of out of the context batting and un-capitalized opportunities on the field, Sri Lanka remains the only side in the tournament that has not shown any problems with their opposition at hand.

Pakistan failed to beat the Lankans earlier in the tournament despite being in a winning position. The batting department of Pakistan has made the team struggle. Misbah-ul-Haq was run out twice in a funny manner. Left arm spinner Abdul Rehman conceded the most runs without bowling a legitimate delivery in the match against Bangladesh. Despite of all the problems faced by the Green Shirts they can be labeled the favorites to retain the title today.

Both teams have reached the final of the Asia Cup in different fashions. Sri Lanka won their match easily throughout the event whereas Pakistan has taken their last two matches in the final overs of the games. If any team who can defeat Indian side and chase 300 above in the next game then they are definitely a strong contenders to clinch the Asia Cup 2014 title today.

Pakistani batsmen have picked their form throughout the Asia Cup. The unpredictable Shahid Afridi has thrilled the crowd and the Pakistani nation with his batting.  Mohammad Hafeez has also scored two consecutive half centuries whereas Ahmed Shehzad made a ton against Bangladesh. Fawad Alam, the middle order batsman, has also given some hope to the Green Shirts locker room. Captain Misbah-ul-Haq, however, has performed poorly as he made 0, 1 and 4 in the matches the team managed to win.

Bowling of Pakistan will be a concern as their pace bowlers Junaid Khan, Umar Gul and Mohammad Talha have been conceding runs in the tournament. The fitness problems of Ahmed Shehzad, Sharjeel Khan, Shahid Afridi and Umar Gul may worry Misbah-ul-Haq in the final.

Shahid Afridi was looking to struggle with his hip problem during the practice sessions on Friday. Zakir Khan, manager of the Pakistan team, dismissed the fitness problem of Boom Boom but stated that he will be dropped if it is completely necessary for the side.

On the other hand, Kumar Sangakkara, Angelo Mathews and Lahiru Thirimanne have been the top performers scored runs but rest of the batsmen have not been up to the task. Dinesh Chandimal and Mahela Jayawardene have been out of touch.

The matches have been played in roller coaster like conditions at Mirpur. The mis-hit have also gone for boundaries and sixes. The pitch is also likely to favor the batsmen and is expected to remain slow. The spinners have had a huge task in the earlier matches of the tournament.

The two teams have squared off 12 times against each other in the finals of tournaments and both teams have emerged victorious six times each.

Pakistan (likely): Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Misbah-ul-Haq, Sohaib Maqsood, Fawad Alam, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Talha and Junaid Khan.

Sri Lanka (likely): Kusal Perera, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews, Chaturanga de Silva, Thisara Perera, Sachithra Senanayake/Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga and Ajantha Mendis.

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