The first two matches of the World Cup got over without any nail-biting finish. In both the encounters, one team dominated the other and won the match too easily. If the teams play as per their current form, the match between New Zealand and Sri Lanka could be a similar encounter.
New Zealand has been picked by many as one of the favourites to be in top 4 in this World Cup. Before this edition, Kiwis have reached in the semi-final of a World Cup 5 times, and reached the final for the first time in the previous edition. One of the most likeable bunch of cricketers on and off the field, though yet to win a World Cup title.
Kane Williamson, who is regarded as one the best batsman of the present generation, is leading the side. He will be under tremendous pressure to do well both as a player and captain in this World Cup.
Their only worry is their top order, both the openers, Guptill and Munro need to give a start which can help the team to build score over 300. Munro, in particular, hasn’t done well in the last few matches. The middle order is solid, followed by some strong hitters at the lower order. With Boult and Southee, they have one of the best opening bowling pair of this world cup.
Sri Lanka is currently at number 9 in ICC Rankings. The 1996 champions have reached 2 World Cup finals since then but were unsuccessful on both the occasion. They are entering into the tournament with 0 wins against any major test playing nation.
They have been changing captains like people change their clothes. In the last 2 years, they have 5 captains. The dispute inside the team related to leadership could hamper their chances even further.
Players to watch out
Ross Taylor, the senior most batsman will be playing his last World Cup. He provides solidity in the middle order and also can accelerate as per his will in the middle overs. New Zealand will be expecting the same role from him. If he clicks, New Zealand will surely go on to score big.
Lasith Malinga, the highest wicket-taker in World Cup from the current set of players. His toe-crushing yorkers and slowers with the same action disguised many batsmen in the past. Sri Lanka would be hoping him to do well as he the most experienced bowler. He has a hat-trick on his name in the World Cup as well.
New Zealand v Sri Lanka in ODIs
Overall: Matches 98, New Zealand Won 48, Sri Lanka Won 41, Tied 1, No Result 8
World Cup: Matches 10, New Zealand Won 3, Sri Lanka Won 7
Recent Form (most recent first): New Zealand W W W L W, Sri Lanka W NR L L L
ICC Rankings: New Zealand (4), Sri Lanka (9)
Trent Boult has taken 147 wickets and needs 3 more to reach the 150 wickets milestone. He will be the 8th Kiwi bowler to achieve this feat.
Lasith Malinga has taken 43 wickets and needs 7 more to reach the 50 wickets milestone in Cricket World Cup. He will be only the 4th bowler to reach this milestone in the World Cup.
Thirimanne has scored 2,990 runs and needs 10 more to become the 16th Sri Lankan player to reach the 3,000 runs.
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (capt), Tom Blundell (wk), Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham (wk), Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor.
Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne (capt), Avishka Fernando, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Jeevan Mendis, Kusal Mendis (wk), Kusal Perera (wk), Thisara Perera, Nuwan Pradeep, Dhananjaya de Silva, Milinda Siriwardana, Lahiru Thirimanne, Isuru Udana, Jeffrey Vandersay.