Fri, Mar 18, 8:16am by Kevin Pitstock
New Zealand’s Past Five ODI’s:
Sri Lanka’s Past Five ODI’s:
When in-form, Brendon McCullum is one of the most dangerous and devastating hitters of a cricket ball in the world. The 29-year-old has the ability to clear almost any boundary and his innovative strokes allow him to score runs in places where very few batsmen can. McCullum is New Zealand’s leading run scorer for this World Cup so far, accumulating 225 runs at 75, including his third ODI century against Canada. The Kiwi’s haven’t had to rely on him too much, with Martin Guptill and Ross Taylor also scoring well. But McCullum loves the big stage – in fact he lives for it. Against a quality opposition in Sri Lanka, the wicketkeeper-batsman has the potential for a big innings.
Kumar Sangakkara is statistically one of the most successful wicketkeeper’s in the history of the game. The 33-year-old averages 57.25 at test level and has averaged 48.4 in ODI’s during 2010. Not only does he keep and bat well, he is also an outstanding leader and one of the most respected players in the world. Out of his five innings’ in this tournament, Sangakkara has only been dismissed twice. He’s scored two fifty’s, but will be desperately keen to convert those into triple figures. The Sri Lankan middle order has been a little inconsistent of late, meaning the skipper will be heavily relied upon to be the backbone of the team’s innings.
Sunny – maximum temperature of 34 degrees
Batsmen’s paradise – it will be very tough work for all bowlers, especially in the stifling heat.
Likely New Zealand Team:
With a quarter-final spot already wrapped up, the Kiwi’s are not taking any risks at the selection table. Skipper Daniel Vettori and Kyle Mills – two integral members of the bowling attack – will be rested, meaning Kane Williamson and Jacob Oram get an opportunity to impress.
Likely Sri Lanka Team:
It will be interesting to see who the Sri Lankan selectors go with. The number six position will be fought out between the two Chamara’s, Silva and Kapugedera, while Dilhara Fernando is a strong chance to play ahead of Nuwan Kulasekera.
Despite the fact both teams are guaranteed a place in the final eight, there is still plenty to play for. A win here for almost guarantees New Zealand a top two finish in Group A, while a Sri Lankan victory would mean it would have to rely on Australia to defeat Pakistan for a top two finish.
Finishing in the top two might be more important than you think. With three unconvincing teams vying for the bottom two quarter-final spots in Group B – minnows Bangladesh, a weak West Indies and a tired England – a win here would mean India and South Africa would be avoided and a relatively easy quarter-final match awaits.
But this is a perfect opportunity for Sri Lanka to finally stamp its authority on this World Cup. The Lankans have beaten all the minnows they’ve faced, but still haven’t knocked over an established team – they lost to Pakistan and their match against Australia was washed out.
With Mills and Vettori being rested, expect the Sri Lankan batsmen to expose a relatively inexperienced Kiwi bowling attack with attacking shots and quick scoring.
Best Head-To-Head Bet:
Sri Lanka ($1.50 – Centrebet)
Other Suggested Bets:
Sri Lanka High Bat – Kumar Sangakkara ($4.25 – Sportingbet)
Man Of The Match – Kumar Sangakkara ($9.00 – Sportingbet)
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