After a disappointing start, both Pakistan and Sri Lanka found their way back into the tournament with confidence-boosting victories against England and Afghanistan respectively.
Pakistan's dismal batting performance in the first match, against West Indies, gave them a seven-wicket defeat, while New Zealand mauled Sri Lanka by 10 wickets in their tournament opener.
However, Pakistan came back with an equally strong batting and bowling performance against England in the next match, whereas Sri Lanka showed their bowling strength against Afghanistan by defending a low total. This match, in particular, is going to be interesting as two unpredictable sides lock horns. While Pakistan might seem like the stronger side on paper, Sri Lanka can't be ruled out.
Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir
Lahiru Thirimanne, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Thisara Perera, Isuru Udana, Nuwan Pradeep, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga
Perera is the only Sri Lankan batsman to have looked confident in the two matches so far. He followed up his 29 against New Zealand in the first match with a stroke-filled 78 against Afghanistan. His career batting average of 29.87 may not look good, but he is worth investing in if you consider his recent form. He has been averaging 42.42 in 2019, with around 300 runs, which include one century and one fifty.
Babar Azam, Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman and Dimuth Karunaratne
Pakistan’s top three of Azam, Imam and Zaman might take a large chunk of your budget out, but they are worth investing in. With ODI batting averages of 51.34, 57.32 and 50.00 respectively, the trio make themselves an absolute must-have for any fantasy side. Dimuth Karunaratne, on the other hand, is the only Sri Lankan batsman who has looked technically adept to deal with any bowling attack in the tournament. He followed up his unbeaten 52 in the first match with an innings of 30 that promised a lot. He makes for a good pick, capable of giving decent returns.
Thisara Perera and Mohammad Hafeez
Perera hasn't fired properly in this tournament yet, but he is a dangerous player who is capable of destroying the opposition with both bat and ball. His 140 off just 74 balls at the start of the year against New Zealand showed what he is capable of. His tally of 171 wickets in 156 matches tells volumes about his wicket-taking ability too.
Hafeez, on the other hand, is still a force to reckon with. His performance of 84, followed by 1/43 in the last match delighted everyone, and he can be the reason for your joy in this match as well, with four ODI centuries against Sri Lanka in a tally of 1322 runs.
Nuwan Pradeep, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir and Shadab Khan
It's better to go with more Pakistani bowlers in this match, given Sri Lanka’s fragile batting line-up. Both Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Amir have proven to be too hot to handle in the two matches so far. While Amir has taken five wickets at an average of 18.6, Wahab proved his mettle with a three-wicket haul in the previous match against England. Shadab Khan has been effective too, with two wickets so far. He has a habit of picking up wickets in the middle overs and he would like to make the most out of Sri Lanka’s inconsistent middle order.
Nuwan Pradeep is the only Sri Lankan bowler worth picking, considering his price and performance. Lasith Malinga would have been a good option, too, but he comes at 1.5 credits more than Pradeep. Moreover, Pradeep has registered four-wicket hauls in his last two ODIs, and his strike of 28 in English conditions is way better than his career strike-rate of 35.9. So, he might not be a popular choice, but he is one of the best Sri Lankan bowling assets to have.
Best Bet: Babar Azam and Thisara Perera
Alternatives: Fakhar Zaman and Mohammad Hafeez