Pakistan, brimming with confidence after their five-wicket win, take on Sri Lanka in the second one-dayer at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Sunday aiming to seal the series and crown Shoaib Malik's debut as captain in style. Sri Lanka, without three senior players, will approach the game aiming to square the series and give their outgoing coach Tom Moody something to smile about.
The first match turned on Shahid Afridi's blitzkrieg 73 off just 34 balls after seeming to head Sri Lanka's way. Reflecting on the victory, Malik emphasised just how important it was in terms of their calamitous World Cup.
"After the World Cup debacle this is the start we wanted," Malik was quoted as saying in Khaleej Times. "It is not easy to beat a tough opponent like Sri Lanka. Pakistan have never been short of talent but to channelise that energy is not an easy task."
Pakistan chose not to go in with fresh faces and instead placed their faith in recalled players like Salman Butt and Yasir Hameed. After a breezy opening stand, Sri Lanka were in with a sniff as the innings slumped for a period after three run-outs. Kamran Akmal, who helped himself to a run-a-ball 51, supported Afridi as the pair took Pakistan home with eight overs to spare.
Malik, who made 11, defended his team's strategy in the chase and wasn't overly concerned in the middle stages.
"We played according to the plans and kept the run rate in our minds," he added. "My innings was not slow because on the one end Imran Nazir, Kamran Akmal and Shahid Afridi were playing aggressively and we were playing according to the plans. We want to play sensible, attacking cricket."
Sri Lanka meanwhile will pin their hopes on the top order to convert their starts and make amends for their collective failure on Friday. Their spinners too struggled to negate Afridi's onslaught, with legspinner Malinga Bandara nearly conceding seven runs an over.