As Sri Lanka face the New Zealand hurdle in the third match of the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup, it would be crucial for the Lankans to start on a positive note, otherwise their World Cup campaign can turn out to be forgettable really quickly.
Sri Lanka are going through one of the worst phases in their cricketing history. They are coming on the back of whitewashes against South Africa and New Zealand. After winning one match against Scotland, they suffered defeats in both their practice matches.
The team only managed 251 in their first warm-up game, after South Africa posted 338 on the board. In the second game, they skittled out for 239 and conceded a five-wicket defeat to Australia.
New Zealand, on the other hand, came up with far better returns. Discounting their 4-1 loss to India, the team has been doing quite well. They easily won their first match against India, but fell prey to some special batting from West Indies in their second warm-up match and lost the game by a big 91-run margin, after Windies posted 421 runs on the board.
Date: Saturday June 1, 2019
Timing: 02:30 PM PKT
Venue: Cardiff Wales Stadium, Cardiff
Weather: Saturday is forecast to be the warmest day of the week, with a high of 20 degrees Celsius and only a 10% chance of rain.
Conditions / Pitch Report: The pitch, will assist seamers with the morning start. The pitch traditionally slows down a touch through the game and could bring the spinners into the game in the afternoon.
Head to Head:
Matches: 90 | New Zealand: 48 | Sri Lanka: 41 | NR: 1
New Zealand: W W W L W (completed matches, most recent first)
Sri Lanka: W L L L L
1. New Zealand
Tom Latham has made an adequate recovery from his finger injury to slot into the middle-order and take the gloves. Williamson reckoned Colin Munro was “fine” and with Henry Nicholls battling an injury, should take up the opening slot uncontested.
New Zealand might have to make a choice between left-arm spinner Santner and Ish Sodhi on the spin front. Tim Southee missed training on Friday and is a doubt with a calf strain, meaning Matt Henry could keep his place
New Zealand’s Probable XI:
1. Martin Guptill, 2. Colin Munro, 3. Kane Williamson (capt), 4. Ross Taylor, 5. Tom Latham (wk), 6. James Neesham, 7. Colin de Grandhomme, 8. Mitchell Santner / Ish Sodhi, 9. Lockie Ferguson, 10. Trent Boult, 11. Matt Henry
2. Sri Lanka
For Sri Lanka, their tournament preparations have been anything but smooth. While Dimuth Karunaratne was installed as skipper after more than four years in ODI wilderness, their warm-up fixtures against South Africa and Australia resulted in two defeats.
Lahiru Thirimanne is set to open with Karunaratne, but the rest of the line-up is pretty difficult to predict. Sri Lanka’s possibilities of structuring a XI are limitless. They played Lahiru Thirimanne in the lower-order middle-order in the Scotland ODI, but it is evident that No.6 is far from ideal for the southpaw.
Kusal Perera will take the gloves and play in the middle-order. Jeffrey Vandersay bowled through Sri Lanka’s optional net session on match eve and should join spin-bowling all-rounders Dhananjaya and Jeevan Mendis in a troika.
Sri Lanka’s Probable XI:
1. Dimuth Karunaratne (capt), 2. Lahiru Thirimanne, 3. Kusal Mendis (wk), 4. Kusal Perera, 5. Angelo Mathews, 6. Dhananjaya de Silva, 7. Thisara Perera, 8. Jeevan Mendis, 9. Isuru Udana, 10. Lasith Malinga, 11. Nuwan Pradeep/Suranga Lakmal
Players to watch:
1. Kane Williamson – Batsman, New Zealand
The captain is the best bet New Zealand have in their batting department. Coming on the back of an impressive campaign in the IPL, Williamson scored a swift half-century against India in the warm-up game and will be looking to lead from the front in their tournament opener.
2. Trent Boult – Bowler, New Zealand
The paceman has been brought with a purpose, and that is to add value with his experience. Boult has all the skill-sets to succeed in these conditions, especially if swing is on offer, he is at his most devastating.
3. Lasith Malinga – Bowler, Sri Lanka
Malinga is the only bowler from the Lankan side who can pose a threat with the ball from the Sri Lankan team and is a must on your dream. The veteran, who had a good IPL season recently, is an experienced campaigner who will use his experience of playing two World Cups to the fullest.
4. Dimuth Karunaratne – Batsman, Sri Lanka
With form and experience both by his side, Karunaratne is the only good candidate in Sri Lanka’s batting line-up.
Stats and Travia:
- No seamer has more wickets than Trent Boult’s 108 since the 2015 World Cup. Kagiso Rabada, too, has claimed 108 wickets although he has had the benefit of playing 12 more matches than Boult.
- Sri Lanka have the lowest win percentage (28.24) since the last World Cup among the 10 participating teams in this edition. They are 0-4 in games at Cardiff
“It’s about the kind of cricket we want to be playing, showing the characteristics and attributes that are important to us as a side to try and be a competitive side day in day out and we know, we can beat anyone” – Kane Williamson doesn’t believe in the noises from outside about his side’s chances in the World Cup.
“We had a couple of really good warm-up games and it was good to get the boys back together. I was delighted with both workouts; we were put under pressure. All in all, confidence levels are high going into the World Cup.” – New Zealand head coach Gary Stead
“I think all the members in our squad have done really well in the domestic level that’s why selectors want to give them a chance All the other guys, in the last couple of years, failed to perform, that’s why selectors want to give chance to those who do well in the domestic season” – Dimuth Karunaratne sees rationale in the last-minute assembling of the squad.