Pakistan vs. Sri Lanka, 1st T20: Date, Time, Live Stream, TV Info and Preview

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Pakistan vs. Sri Lanka, 1st T20: Date, Time, Live Stream, TV Info and Preview
Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Sri Lanka's long tour of Pakistan, or more specifically, the United Arab Emirates, begins with a pair of T20 matches at the Dubai International Stadium. 

These games are the opening salvos of 10 clashes that will take place over the next few weeks across three formats as these old rivals renew acquaintances.

Bleacher Report took a closer look at the opening fixture and some of the plot lines that are about to play out in this fascinating series.

 

Venue: Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai, UAE.

Date: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 

Start time: 16:00 GMT

Weather: Unblemished sunshine is predicted by bbc.co.uk/weather with an average temperature of 24 degrees.

TV Info: Not shown in the UK, available in Pakistan on PTV Sports and in Sri Lanka on CSN Sports.

 

 

Overview:

The Pakistan Cricket Board and its head honcho, Dav Whatmore, recently announced a mutually parting of ways at the end of this tour, and the former Australian player will be keen to go out on a high. In fact, the opening couple of games are Pakistan's only currently scheduled T20s before the ICC World Twenty 20 in March.

With that in mind, the Men in Green have included a number of inexperienced players who could push for permanent spots. Sohaib Maqsood and Sharjeel Khan will be eager to impress with the bat while Bilawal Bhatti, Anwar Ali and last-minute call-up Usman Khan will look to make an impression with the ball.

Of course, the team will still rely on old heads, such as Saeed Ajmal, skipper Mohammad Hafeez and the redoubtable Shahid Afridi, to contribute match-winning contributions and keep a potentially combustible ship afloat.

Similarly to their hosts, Sri Lanka's coach Graham Ford will also be departing at the end of the tour, with the South African due to take over the reins at English county side Surrey.

He will leave a Sri Lankan side in a state of flux with the search to replace the ever-ageing Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene growing in urgency. Indeed with the latter missing the T20s and ODIs, extra pressure is on Dinesh Chandimal, who despite being the latest incumbent of the Tigers revolving-door captaincy has yet to prove he fully belongs at this level.

The presence of two spinning all-rounders in Ramith Rambukwella and Seekkuge Prasanna add interest to the squads, while the presence of the always entertaining Lasith Malinga, whose statistics suggest he is in decline, could provide some fireworks.

These teams have contested 10 x T20 clashes since 2007 with Pakistan emerging victorious on six occasions, although Sri Lanka are currently ranked No.1 in the ICC T20 rankings compared to Pakistan who lie in fourth.

 

Squads

Pakistan (from): Mohammad Hafeez (capt), Ahmed Shehzad, Sharjeel Khan, Sohaib Maqsood, Umar Amin, Umar Akmal (wk), Shahid Afridi, Zulfiqar Babar, Bilawal Bhatti, Junaid Khan, Sohail Tanvir, Anwar Ali, Saeed Ajmal, Haris Sohail, Usman Khan.

Sri Lanka (from): Dinesh Chandimal (capt), Angelo Mathews, Rangana Herath, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Nuwan Kulasekara, Dimuth Karunara, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Lasith Malinga, Kusal Perera, Lahiru Thirimanne, Sachithra Senanayake, Seekkuge Prasanna, Suranga Lakmal, Thisara Perera, Ajantha Mendis.

 

Key Players

Saeed Ajmal, who else? The off-spinner is the second ranked T20 bowler in the world and boasts 77 wickets at 17.12. Perhaps more importantly, the 36-year-old brings an economy rate of 6.22 to the side which obviously helps build the pressure on the opposition batsman.

For Sri Lanka, the ultra-calm head of Kumar Sangakkara will be crucial in the absence of Jayawardene. The wicketkeeper-cum-batsman is vastly experienced in all forms of the game and boasts a strike rate of 124.46 from nearly 150 appearances.

 

Prediction

Who will win the opening T20?

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These sides seem evenly matched, and in a format where a couple of deliveries can decide the entire result, this one looks like a coin toss. However, with Pakistan having recently been battle-hardened by their tough tour of South Africa, they get the nod to hit the ground running here.

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