ICC World Cup 2019: Match 3, New Zealand vs Sri Lanka, Preview – Kiwis begin their quest to find relevance among the best in the world

ICC World Cup 2019: Match 3, New Zealand vs Sri Lanka, Preview – Kiwis begin their quest to find relevance among the best in the world

New Zealand reached the finals in the previous edition and are keen to go one step further this time.

New Zealand team
New Zealand team. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Kumar Sangakkara lit up the 2015 World Cup with his mind-boggling batting and that helped Sri Lanka reach the Quarterfinals and eventually bow out with pride. It just took the retirement of two players for Sri Lanka to lose their golden touch and currently, experts reckon only a miracle of miracles can take them through to the next stages.

New Zealand reached the finals in the previous edition and are keen to go one step further this time. They ensured all possible boxes got ticked before heading to the main tournament and despite a horrendous defeat in the hands of Windies in the warmup fixture, they look strong enough to be considered one of the favorites to enter the final four.

What will it take for the Lankan Lions to overhaul this strong Kiwi contingent? They have to find a solution to combat Trent Boult which most teams haven’t managed. If they can get some early wickets and contain the likes of Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor and skipper Kane Williamson, they could be in contention. But the above-mentioned things are much easier said than done.

Playing Combinations

New Zealand

Henry Nicholls might get to open alongside Martin Guptill after Colin Munro failed to get going in the warm-up fixtures. Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor have been a constant source of runs for them in the middle order and will continue to be so throughout the tournament. They might go in with two spinners and two quicks for this game, with James Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme being their 5th and 6th bowling options.

Predicted XI

Martin Guptill, Henry Nicholls, Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Tom Blundell (wk), Colin de Grandhomme, James Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi.

Sri Lanka

The unfortunate thing for Sri Lanka is there is no star presence in their batting lineup who reassures runs almost every game. Karunaratne and Thirimanne might open with Kusal Perera coming in the middle order. Unlike the Kiwis, they could play just one spinner in the lineup in Jeffrey Vandersay. They will go in with three speedsters in Isuru Udana, Malinga and Suranga Lakmal, with Perera and Dhananjaya de Silva being the fifth and sixth bowling options.

Predicted XI

Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera (wk), Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Thisara Perera, Isuru Udana, Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal, Jeffrey Vandersay

Focus will be on

Ross Taylor (New Zealand)

The most experienced batsman in both sides for this fixture, Ross Taylor will be posing a serious challenge for all the bowling lineups this World Cup. The last 12 months have been spectacular for him and he looks in the form of his life. One of the best things about him is he can bat at any gear with great effect, from tonking literally every ball to playing around singles to assist some other strikers.

Lasith Malinga (Sri Lanka)

Lasith Malinga’s experience in the business end of the IPL proved to be pivotal for Mumbai Indians and the same facet could save Sri Lanka from avoiding a few humiliations. The Kiwis have some fantastic batsmen in their lineup and if the Islanders’ main man with the ball is not up to the mark, they could fall behind big time.

Head to head

Matches Played – 98 | New Zealand won – 48 | Sri Lanka won – 41 | Tied – 1 | No result – 8

Stat Attack

3 – Trent Boult needs 3 more scalps to complete 150 ODI wickets.

40 – Lahiru Thirimanne is 40 short of 4,000 ODI runs.

Broadcasting details

TV – Star Sports

Live stream – Hotstar

Match Timings – 3 pm (IST) and 9.30 am (GMT).