Thursday, 12 April 2007

Preview: New Zealand vs Sri Lanka

This contest pits second against third in a potential prequel of one semi-final. New Zealand are rapidly gaining belief, from within and without, that this is the year that they can finally emerge from the shadows and claim a first World Cup crown. Few could argue with their credentials and they could yet pip Australia to top spot.

Sri Lanka meanwhile are also in with an excellent chance of lifting the trophy for a second time and will want to assure themselves of a semi-final spot with victory here. With Australia and Bangladesh also to come, it is not totally inconceivable that they could miss out if they lose here, though that is highly unlikely. Their cause will not be helped by the absence of Lasith Malinga though, who has been especially brilliant with the old ball. Replacing him will likely be Farheez Maharoof, who could prove to be a weak link. They do have plenty of spin options to dig themselves out extra overs though.

Games between these two are rarely dull and they are very evenly matched, having drawn their latest ODI series 2-2 in New Zealand and also having drawn the Test series 1-1.

Prediction: Should be a fantastic game. New Zealand may just shade it if they can conquer Murali.

Players to watch: Jacob Oram and Kumar Sangakkara.


Mahinda said...

Should be a right good game, that one.

Maharoof could be a blessing in disguise -- he's a decent lower-order biffer (as England found to their cost at Old Trafford last summer), and I reckon we'll definitely need some runs once Bond's blown away the top order :o(

BTW, SL already thrashed Bangladesh during the group stages -- it's the might of Ireland to come.

Chrispy said...

With Ireland, not Bangladesh, Sri Lanka will have no problems, they may run Australia closest out of all the sides.

Still my tips for champions. Just hope Malinga gets back soon!