Big PictureBoth economies are on the verge of collapse - Sri Lanka's, it might be argued, is collapsing already; both nations are straining under outsized external debt; and both are negotiating with the IMF for relief. It is the first of two Pakistan vs Sri Lanka matches to finish the Asia Cup off. Welcome to the first Debt Trap Derby.
In the spotlightFour innings, 33 runs, a strike rate of 117: Babar Azam, arguably the best batter in the tournament, is having a poor stretch. There is no obvious reason for the low scores, so perhaps it is a mixture of confidence and luck. Either way, you don't expect him to stay down for long. If Sri Lanka opt for a weaker bowling attack for this match, perhaps he will have the chance to bounce back.
Team newsSri Lanka might swap Asitha Fernando, who has been expensive, for one of the younger quick bowlers Matheesha Pathirana or Pramod Madushan; the latter, if he plays, would be making his debut. There is also a chance of Sri Lanka resting Wanindu Hasaranga so as to not give Pakistan a look at him ahead of the final, and bringing in Jeffrey Vandersay.
Pitch and conditionsAs usual, the Dubai pitch is expected to favour the team batting second, with dew perhaps forming in the second innings to hamper the bowlers. It will be the same surface as the one used by India and Afghanistan on Thursday and so, as such, will be worn.
Stats and trivia
- Sixteen of the last 18 matches in Dubai - not counting the result between India and Afghanistan on Thursday night - have been won by the chasing side. The only teams who have lost batting second are Hong Kong and Scotland.
- Overall, Sri Lanka have lost 13 and won only eight T20Is against Pakistan. They won the last three in a row, but that was back in 2019.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf