New Zealand vs Sri Lanka: Preview and Prediction
The Lankan Lions are already out of the tournament after their defeat against Shakib Al Hasan & Co. but would look to end the campaign on high.
On the other hand, New Zealand would be eager to win this game or else they could be eliminated from the World Cup. They batted brilliantly in their last battle against Pakistan but the rain played spoilsport and Pakistan won the game by 21 runs.
It’s a do-or-die battle for New Zealand, so the pressure would surely be on them as Sri Lanka’s victory in this match can help Pakistan and Afghanistan to a great extent.
What have they done so far?
New Zealand had a tremendous beginning to the World Cup with four consecutive victories against England, Netherlands, Bangladesh and Afghanistan but the BlackCaps suffered four straight losses
Injuries have plagued the Kiwis with Kane Williamson, James Neesham, Matt Henry, Mark Chamoan, and Lockie Ferguson getting ruled out of certain matches have restricted the team from down under to field their perfect combination of 11 players.
On the other hand, Sri Lanka had a terrible outing as they could only win two out of eight matches so far getting eliminated from the semi-final running against Bangladesh on Monday. Now, the side would like to end their campaign with a victory.
The Lankans had a disappointing last outing where they lost to Bangladesh by 3 wickets. One of the highlights of the match came when Angelo Mathews was ‘Timed Out.’ He became the first-ever player to be given out this way and created a lot of controversy.
Head to Head Record
New Zealand and Sri Lanka have met 101 times where the KIwis won on 51 occasions whereas Sri Lanka had an upper hand 41 times. 8 matches had ended with no results and one game finished in a tie.
Kane Williamson: Skipper Kane Williamson has always performed whenever his team wants him to and this is probably going to be one of the biggest battles for him in this World Cup. If Williamson can score crucial runs for New Zealand, it could be his game on Thursday.
The M. Chinnaswamy Stadium has shorter boundaries and the skipper would want to make complete use of them. It’s going to be a perfect batting track and the 33-year old is the perfect anchor for the side with Devon Conway, Rachin Ravindra, Daryl Mitchell, and Glenn Phillips attacking from the other end.
Angelo Mathews: The former Sri Lankan skipper has been a good all-rounder over the years winning many games for Sri Lanka. This time as well, the right-hander would like to contribute with both bat and ball so that they can end their campaign on a perfect note.
Mathews bowled with a good economy and average in this World Cup and he would like to maintain his consistency. Regardless of what happened in the previous battle, Mathews would want to forget the incident and finish things on high.
New Zealand: Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis ©, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Maheesh Theekshana, Dushmantha Chameera, Kasun Rajitha, Dilshan Madushanka
Sri Lanka: Devon Conway, Rachin Ravindra, Kane Williamson ©, Daryl Mitchell, Tom Latham (wk), Glenn Phillips, Mark Chapman, Mitchell Santner, Lockie Ferguson Tim Southee, Trent Boult
New Zealand is strong on paper but four consecutive losses would have lowered the morale in the Kiwis’ camp. The fact that the 2019 World Cup finalists have won their remaining matches against teams currently in the lower half of the points table would boost Williamson and co. ahead of the fixture in Bengaluru.
Sri Lanka is already eliminated from the ongoing tournament and the 1996 World Cup winners would play freely as the likes of Mathews, Dushmantha Chameera, and Dimuth Karunaratne could be playing their last-ever World Cup match.
The Kiwis would have a slight edge over Sri Lanka due to their remarkable form with the bat but the weather could once again derail the Kiwis who lost the last match on the D/L method.