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World Cup 2019, Match 3- NZ vs SL, Preview: New Zealand aim to put behind the dark horses tag

“The Kiwis finished as the runner-up in the 2015 edition, while Sri Lanka are reckoned to be one of the most struggling team of the tournament.”

The World Cup fever has already begun and the cricketing fans cannot stop going gaga about it. After two exciting encounters, it is time for the first double-header battle of the biggest cricketing carnival. In the first match lined up for the day, New Zealand will be taking on Sri Lanka at the Sophia Gardens, Cardiff on June 1. Both the teams are coming into this game after witnessing contrasting results unfold in their respective warm-up matches. They will now be hoping to start the competition on a winning note.

New Zealand are surely looking as the better placed side going into this game against Sri Lanka. They have suffered a massive 91-run defeat at the hands of the Windies team in their second preparatory match, but the Kane Williamson-led team also gave the Men in Blue a clinical beating in the first warm-up fixture. When it comes to World Cup tournaments, the Kiwis have always been considered as the dark horses because they somehow manage to excel the expectations.

In the last edition, which they jointly hosted with Australia and as a matter of coincidence, it was these two teams itself who reached the finals of the 2015 World Cup. Australia became the five-time triumphant, while New Zealand finished as the runners-up. The Black Caps hope to shed their tag as gallant losers after making the World Cup semi-finals six times then finally reaching the decider four years ago, only to be soundly beaten by Australia. With some experienced players in Ross Taylor, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Martin Guptill, the Kane Williamson-led side are surely reckoned to be strong contenders to lift the coveted 2019 World Cup trophy.

On the other hand, Sri Lanka head into this match with a bleak record, having managed only one win (against Scotland) from their last 10 matches, losing eight and one game being abandoned. They also lost both their warm-up games against South Africa and Australia. It hasn't helped that the squad has been mired with uncertainties - Dinesh Chandimal was axed from the World Cup-bound squad and there were a host of surprises when the 15-man squad was announced.

But with a new captain in Dimuth Karunaratne, they hope to turn the tables around. This is Sri Lanka, the most consistent team in big events between 2007 and 2015 when they made five ICC finals and two semi-finals. That has to count for something, if at all for invoking a sense of pride and kindred spirit among the squad. Who knows, if Lasith Malinga can get on a roll, if Angelo Mathews can shake himself out of his slumber, if Kusal Perera can channel his inner Durban avatar, if captain Karunaratne can script the greatest come-from-nowhere story.

Head to Head Battle

Matches

New Zealand

Sri Lanka

Tied

No Result

Overall (98)

48

41

1

8

In World Cup (10)

4

6

 

 

 

New Zealand's likely Playing XI

Martin Guptill is a definite starter for one of the opening slots with either of Colin Munro or Henry Nicholls accompanying him. Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson will come in at three and is going to head the middle-order along with senior batsman Ross Taylor, who too is in a sensational form. Tom Latham has recovered from his injury in time and will bat in the middle-order along with taking the gloves. 

Tim Southee is struggling with a slight niggle and if he fails to regain complete fitness, New Zealand will have the luxury to play both the spinners, Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi. In that case, the two all-rounders, James Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme will assist the duo of Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson in the pace bowling department. 

Probable XI: Colin Munro, Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham (wk), James Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee/Ish Sodhi, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult. 

Sri Lanka's likely Playing XI

The duo comprising of skipper Dimuth Karunaratne and Lahiru Thirimanne will open the batting for Sri Lanka. Kusal Mendis will take up the crucial number three slot and Kusal Perera will also bat in the middle-order along with take the wicket-keeping duties. Senior batsman Angelo Mathews will most likely bat at the fifth position. The trio of Dhananjaya de Silva, Jeevan Mendis and Thisara Perera are the two all-rounders in the side. 

Isuru Udana has been brilliant both with the ball and bat in the recent few games and thus, he is certain to be part of the playing eleven. One of Nuwan Pradeep or Suranga Lakmal will have to be on the bench. Lasith Malinga will lead the fast bowling attack, while Dhananjaya and Mendis will handle the spin department. 

Probable XI: Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera, Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera, Dhananjaya de Silva, Jeevan Mendis, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Pradeep/Suranga Lakmal, Isuru Udana.

Match Timings- 3:00 pm IST and 10:30 local

Broadcast Details- Star Sports 1, Star Sports 1 HD.