Pakistan's pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi with coach Micky Arthur during a training session. File
Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur admits he knows Sri Lanka's "strengths and weaknesses" inside out having spent two years at the helm of his Asian rivals.
Former champions Pakistan and Sri Lanka clash at the World Cup in Hyderabad on Tuesday, allowing Arthur the opportunity to renew his acquaintance with players he helped develop as coach between December 2019 to November 2021.
"Yeah, I know their strengths and weaknesses so we will have plans put in place for all of them," Arthur told AFP. "They are a dangerous side so we will have to be at our best to beat them."
Pakistan defeated the Netherlands in a nervy performance by 81 runs in Hyderabad on Friday to open their World Cup campaign.
They overcame a top order failure, recovering from 38-3 before posting a challenging 286 with half centuries from Saud Shakeel and Mohammad Rizwan.
They then bowled out the Netherlands for 205 in 41 overs.
"I enjoyed the first win even though it wasn't a great performance," admitted Arthur. "But we did enough to win and when the game was on the line we had players standing up."
Pakistan are likely to keep the same line-up for Tuesday's match, handing a lifeline to out of form opener Fakhar Zaman who scored just 12 against the Netherlands.
"I am not worried about his form, he is a good player and is just one innings away from a big score," said Arthur of the only Pakistan batsman to have made a double century in ODI cricket.
Undone by South Africa's record-shattering 428-5 in their opening game on Saturday in New Delhi before losing by 102 runs, 1996 champions Sri Lanka will take confidence from their battling reply.
Sri Lanka will also be buoyed by their two wicket win against Pakistan last month that propelled them to the Asia Cup final in Colombo. Skipper Dasun Shanaka admitted his side has been hampered by the loss of three frontline bowlers.
Dushmantha Chameera and Wanindu Hasaranga were ruled out of the tournament completely through injury while Maheesh Theekshana remains with the squad but sidelined with a hamstring injury.
"It was tough to manage things without three key bowlers, but that is part of the game," said Shanaka after the South Africa match. "I am happy with the positive intent we showed with the bat and the first ten overs with the ball were good too."
Kusal Mendis hit a whirlwind 42-ball 76, with eight glorious sixes, while Charith Asalanka (79) and Shanaka (68) frustrated the South African attack before Sri Lanka were dismissed for 326 in 44.5 overs.
Excited crowds, held back by officers, cheered and shouted the team captain's name Babar Azam, as the Pakistanis arrived at the airport in the southern city of Hyderabad for the ODI World Cup, which opens on Oct.5.
Young fast bowler Naseem Shah was believed to be the key weapon in Babar’s pace armory to conquer the batters on cricket pitches across the border in company with pace duo of Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf.
"Pakistan has consistently maintained that sports should not be mixed with politics,” Pakistan’s ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement. "It has, therefore, decided to send its cricket team to India to participate in the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup 2023.”
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