sport

Pakistan sweating on Afridi

Pakistan will be hoping explosive all-rounder Shahid Afridi will be passed fit for Saturday's mouth-watering Asia Cup final against Sri Lanka.

The 34-year-old has been back to his best of late, helping the defending champions to two dramatic last-over wins over India and hosts Bangladesh.

Afridi missed training with the team on Friday and Pakistan manager Zakir Khan says the team will make a late decision on whether he can play despite a hip strain.

"He has responded well to the treatment," said Khan. "We're all analysing and assessing the situation and will take a decision before the start of the match."

There are also question marks over the fitness of batsmen Ahmed Shehzad, Sharjeel Khan and pace bowler Umar Gul, however, captain Misbah-ul-Haq is focusing his attention elsewhere.

"Considering the scenario, we're prepared to face any situation, and have our plans ready for the final," commented Misbah said.

Positive thoughts

"The morale of the team is high with the way we have won the last two matches. We hope to continue playing positive and good cricket. If you play good cricket, results go your way."

Sri Lanka have a psychological advantage over Pakistan having already secured a 12-run win over them earlier in the competition while they were also unbeaten in the round robin stage.

The team have a number of match-winners in their ranks with pace bowler Lasith Malinga, experienced batsman Kumar Sangakkara and spin bowler Ajantha Mendis all key personnel.

Mendis has a tournament-leading nine wickets at an average of 14, Malinga took 5-52 against Pakistan, and Sangakkara has a tournament-high 248 runs with a best of 103 against India and half-centuries against Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Misbah knows Sri Lanka will be a difficult side to beat on Saturday, adding: "Sri Lanka are tough, especially in the final, because they do their basics right and always fight.

"We really have to play good cricket. You have plans against the main players and others who are contributing for the team. It depends on the day, how you execute those plans."