New Zealand vs Sri Lanka, Match 3, Saturday 1 June

New Zealand and Sri Lanka have exactly the opposite roadmap heading into the World Cup. While NZ have been at the top of their game and thrashing the opposition in ODI series, SL’s form has hit rock bottom and declined to their career lowest. Definitely, the departure of Sangakkara and Jayawardene have left Sri Lanka vulnerable but it shouldn’t take them this much time to come up with replacements and with the WC right around the corner, Sri Lanka must come up with a strong squad fast otherwise their trip to England might be shorter than they expected.

Head-to-Head ODI Performance:

NZ and SL have taken on each other on several occasions. Their historic rivalry involves the following stats:

  • NZ ODI Ranking: 3rd
  • SL ODI Ranking: 8th
  • ODI Competitions: 98
  • NZ won: 48
  • SL won: 41
  • Tie / No Results: 1 / 8

There’s not a huge difference between their ODI clashes but this is not the scenario right now. With the exit of SL’s opening order, they haven’t been able find their form. The departure of two of their best batsmen have left the Lankan Lions toothless. Although it is a huge setback but they need to find replacements fast because they’ll be facing much stronger sides. The fault with this SL side is that they don’t look to build up partnership. Their attitude is more “every man for himself”. They need to work as a unit otherwise they’re in serious trouble. NZ is one of the strongest teams in WC right now. It will take a strong performance from some top order SL batsmen to propel them to victory.

WC Competition:

With the recent change in WC qualifying format, NZ will be taking on SL on the following date and venue:

  • Date: 1st June 2019
  • Venue: Cardiff Stadium, Wales
  • Time: 2:30 PM Pakistan Time (D)

Hosting a total of 24 matches, this pitch provides a little more pace for seam bowlers. This would be ideal for NZ bowlers like Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Adam Milne. What SL need right now is someone who can play long innings and bat deep into the overs. SL were pathetic in recent series against South Africa. They thrashed them 5-0 in ODI series. SL might have to restructure their entire team if they want a fair chance at WC.

Meanwhile, for NZ, this match will define how the rest of the tournament goes for them because it’s their inaugural match. If NZ lose this match, it might shake their confidence up to such an extent that they might not recover from it.

Outcome:

If anyone’s seen the recent bilateral series of both respective teams, they’ll know to put their money on NZ. They’ve got an impressive batting order, a world class all-round middle order and a destructive bowling side. SL might surprise on the day but they’ll need a lot of luck to pull that off. Odds are 80-20% in favor of NZ. The key for NZ is not to lose focus and not underestimate SL at any level. If NZ can get an early win, it will definitely raise their morale for further matches.

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