Tue, Mar 29, 8:58am by Kevin Pitstock
Sri Lanka’s World Cup Campaign:
New Zealand’s World Cup Campaign:
Over the past few years, Lasith Malinga has become the spearhead of the Sri Lankan bowling attack. The 27-year-old paceman relies on varying his deliveries, by using slower balls and bouncers at the most random of times. And when he gets it right, there is no better exponent of the yorker ball. Malinga’s only decent performance this World Cup was his haul of 6/38 against minnow side Kenya during the group stage. If he produces anything like that tonight though, New Zealand’s batting line-up will struggle to cope.
For so long, Nathan McCullum has lived in the shadow of younger brother Brendan. But while he may never be as talented or prolific as him, Nathan is slowly building his own cricketing reputation as one of the most invaluable members of the Kiwi side. The 30-year-old has been in excellent form for his team this World Cup, with the both bat and ball. McCullum has taken eight wickets from his past four matches and compiled a hard-fought 52 against the Aussies. He’ll need to work closely with fellow spinner Daniel Vettori against Sri Lanka tonight if the Kiwis are to win.
Likely Sri Lanka Team:
Likely New Zealand Team:
Before this World Cup, New Zealand had been terrible in the subcontinent, barely able to put up a fight against some of the most established teams in the world. Remarkably, it now remains the sole non-Asian team in the tournament and has a golden opportunity to make its first ever final.
The odds are totally against the Kiwi’s for this match – and fair enough too. But the Kiwis often play their best cricket when their backs are against the wall – see their last game against South Africa. They are not a team of superstars – rather they are a team with a superstar mindset and are prepared to do whatever it takes to win games – even play ugly.
Conversely, Sri Lanka relied on class, talent and skill to win games. However it can’t afford to be complacent tonight. One of the basics they need to improve on is their fielding. After dropping three catches against England, captain Kumar Sangakkara stated that his team can’t afford to give opponents that many chances. If they can save 20 to 30 runs, they will be in the box seat.
Very few expect the Kiwis to win, however they always seem to surprise teams whenever they are underestimated. But the Lankans are primed for a World Cup final.
Their batting line-up, which includes perhaps the best top four batsmen in the world, and heavy emphasis on spin bowling, should be too much for the Kiwi’s to handle. It won’t be easy, but expect the Lankan’s to progress through to their second consecutive World Cup final.
Best Head-To-Head Bet:
Sri Lanka ($1.33 – Sportsbet)
Other Suggested Bets:
Sri Lanka Most Wickets – Lasith Malinga ($3.00 – Sportingbet)
Man Of The Match – Lasith Malinga ($8.00 – Centrebet)
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