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5 Changes in Babar Azam-led Pakistan’s Playing XI for Must-win Asia Cup Tie vs Sri Lanka, Haris Rauf Left Out

Pakistan announce playing XI for must-win Asia Cup tie against Sri Lanka. (AP Image)

Pakistan announce playing XI for must-win Asia Cup tie against Sri Lanka. (AP Image)

Babar Azam-led Pakistan were forced to make five changes in their playing XI for the virtual semifinal fixture against Sri Lanka in their bid to qualify for the Asia Cup final

Pakistan’s injury woes have seen the Babar Azam-led unit make as many as five changes to their playing XI – which took to the field against India – for their must-win clash against Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup 2023 Super 4 tie. Pakistan will meet the defending champions in what will be a virtual semifinal fixture for both sides, with the winning team slated to join India in the summit clash on September 17.

Both Pakistan and Sri Lanka have 2 points each from their two outings in the Asia Cup 2023 Super 4 stage, therefore, the meeting between the two sides on Thursday will be a must-win for both Asian giants.

However, a day ahead of the must-win tie Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) revealed that Naseem Shah was ruled out for the remainder of the Asia Cup 2023 due to the shoulder injury he picked up against Bangladesh, which further aggravated against India.

Haris Rauf didn’t bowl against India on the reserve day as a precaution and the star pacer has been left out of the playing XI for the virtual knock-out tie against Sri Lanka in Colombo on Thursday, September 14.

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Babar’s side has been forced to make five changes due to the injury concerns, for their must-win game.

With no place for the injured Rauf, and Naseem, Mohammad Wasim Jnr and Naseem’s replacement Zaman Khan walk straight into the playing XI to partner Shaheen Shah Afridi in the pace battery.

Faheem Ashraf despite his economic bowling spell against India has been left out, Saud Shakeel comes in to replace him. Mohammad Nawaz also joins the pace quartet, whereas there’s a change in the opening batting order too, Fakhar Zaman is replaced by Mohammad Haris.

There is no place for Agha Salman either who was hit on his face by a delivery from Ravindra Jadeja as the batter narrowly survived a major injury to his eye since he wasn’t wearing a helmet.

With a negative net run rate of -1.892, the Men in Green who recently suffered a colossal 228-run defeat at the hands of India, will hope that rain doesn’t play spoilsport in Colombo on Thursday because there is no reserve day for the tie. In case of a washout, Sri Lanka and Pakistan will both get a point each, and the defending champions will be through to the final having a better NRR than Azam’s men.

Only a win will do for Pakistan as they hope to set up a date with India which would be the first ever IND vs PAK final in the history of Asia Cup.

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