Abu Dhabi: Pakistan will target another powerful show when they face Sri Lanka in the first of three-Twenty20 Internationals in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.
Pakistan brush Sri Lanka aside 5-0 in the One-Day International series which concluded on Monday. With its Twenty20 form even better, it will start the shortest format as firm favourite.
Sarfraz Ahmed, under whom Pakistan has won nine of its 11 T20Is, described the ODI series win as satisfying and promised that there would be no let-up in the shortest format.
But the Pakistan captain does not rate Sri Lanka as weak, even though the Sri Lankan selectors were forced to announce a new look-team after seniors pulled out of the tour due to security fears, what with the last match of the series due to be held in Lahore and the selectors determined to name the same squad for all three matches.
Pakistan's pace department, its main weapon in its rise in ODI cricket since winning the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 in England in June, will welcome back spearhead Mohammad Amir, who missed the 50-over games with a shin injury.
Mohammad Hafeez, the experienced batsman, will boost both the bowling and the batting before he travels to Loughborough for an assessment of his bowling action, which was reported as suspect last week.
Tharanga's pull-out has handed the captaincy to Thisara Perera, the all-rounder becoming Sri Lanka's seventh captain across the three formats this year. While taking pride in being given the captaincy, Perera hoped the new-look team would do something special.
Sri Lanka, ranked No. 8 in Twenty20s, has had a good season in the 20-over game, beating South Africa and Australia 2-1 and drawing 1-1 against Bangladesh. Its last T20I outing, however, ended in defeat at the hands of India.
Pakistan: Sarfraz Ahmed (capt and wk), Fakhar Zaman, Ahmed Shehzad, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Aamer Yamin, Mohammad Amir, Usman Shinwari, Umar Amin.
Sri Lanka: Thisara Perera (capt), Dilshan Munaweera, Danushka Gunathilaka, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Ashan Priyanjan, Mahela Udawatte, Dasun Shanaka, Minod Bhanuka (wk), Sachith Pathirana, Vikum Sanjaya, Lahiru Gamage, Seekkuge Prasanna, Vishwa Fernando, Isuru Udana, Jeffrey Vandersay, Chaturanga de Silva.
Pitch and conditions
Hot, humid outing awaits the players in Abu Dhabi. The stadium is not typically a high-scoring venue.
Stats and trivia
If Pakistan, currently ranked No. 2 in the ICC T20I rankings, wins all three matches, it will come within a point of top-ranked New Zealand. If New Zealand then loses its Twenty20 series against India next month, it will lift Pakistan to the No. 1 spot.
Thursday October 26, 2017
Start time 2000 local (1600 GMT)