Asia Cup 2023 is approaching, and Pakistan, along with Afghanistan, have started their preparations. Both teams are currently engaged in a series of 3 ODIs starting August 22, 2023. Sri Lanka is hosting the home series for the Afghan side. As a matter of fact, the very first ODI between them is underway as we articulate this piece. More on that in a little bit.
Pakistan is under the captaincy of Babar Azam, while Afghanistan is being led by Hashmatuallah Shahidi.
This series will play an important role as they gear up to list their second and maiden titles, respectively. Pakistan is backed by a strong opening pair of Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq. That makes up for the top five batters across the world.
The bowling lineup has Haris Rauf, Shaheen Afridi, and Naseem Shah. The bowling lineup is heavily tasked with restricting the most competitive side in cricket. Pakistan has the upper hand, but Afghanistan’s passion for the sport cannot be underestimated.
Leading the hosts is their skipper, with a record of 1,637 runs scored throughout 59 innings in the ODI format. The left-handed batter averages 32.1 with 14 half-centuries and zero centuries plus double centuries.
A lot of the bowling lineup has new faces appearing on the field to make their nation proud. This includes Wafadar Momand and Abdul Rahman, along with Mohammad Saleem Safi. All eyes will be on Rashid Khan as he stands as a lone warrior in the entire bowling lineup. The right-arm leg spinner has picked up 167 wickets in 84 appearances.
What keeps him under the limelight is his ability to finish a match in death overs. Rashid has been a star kid in the India Premier League with no one to defy that he can pick quick, crucial wickets at any moment. Pakistan are favorites on cricket betting sites to clinch the series by at least 2-1. Afghanistan can still turn the tide in their direction.
All three matches will be hosted by the Lankan region, with the first two ODIs happening at Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium. The final event will happen at R. Premadasa Stadium.
Talking about the pitch, it offers equal chances to batters and bowlers, with more inclination to the team that bowls first.
Pakistan are down by 4 wickets for 91 runs in 24 overs. Rashid Khan has picked a single, with Mujeeb bagging 2 wickets at an economy of 2.83 in 6 overs. Farooqi took the wicket of Fakhar Zaman way before he could settle on the pitch conditions. It will only be right to say that Pakistan had a very bad start, losing 2 wickets in 2 overs. Azam got stuck for a duck, the third ball hitting his legs for LBW.
Rizwan could have been a serious threat, but Rahman struck the right chords to send him back to the pavilion.
Upcoming ODIs are scheduled to happen on August 24, 2023, and August 26, 2023, respectively.