ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News
New Zealand v Sri Lanka, World Cup 2011, Group A, Mumbai
Teams hunt for momentum before quarter-finals
The Preview by Sidharth Monga
March 17, 2011
March 18, Mumbai
Start time 2.30pm (0900 GMT)
The Big Picture
Two days before this match, Mumbai witnessed, at 41.6 degrees celsius, its hottest March day in 55 years, and second-hottest overall. The match itself doesn't quite promise to be as hot as the matches between big teams in the Group B: New Zealand are going easy, not risking either Daniel Vettori or Kyle Mills; Sri Lanka, the pre-tournament favourites, are yet to put up a performance to match that billing.
That said, there is a lot at stake. Not only is this the last league game for both teams, which makes this important for momentum purposes, more importantly the winners here will be assured a place in the top two, which means they will get one of the two bottom teams from Group B in the quarters. Then again, looking at how chaotic Group B has been, that might eventually not count for much: one of the bottom sides there still could be India, and one of the top ones Bangladesh.
Neither New Zealand nor Sri Lanka will be thinking of Group B, though. To finish in the top two, and to give themselves an even chance to win the quarterfinal, will be some progress for New Zealand, who were blanked 4-0 and 5-0 in their last two series in the subcontinent. For Sri Lanka, this is an opportunity to announce themselves in this World Cup. They have been efficient against the minnows, but they lost to Pakistan, and had only fought back to make things even before rain ended their game against Australia.
Form guide(completed matches, most recent first)
New Zealand WWWLW
Sri Lanka WWLWW
Watch out for...
This will be a near homecoming for Lasith Malinga, who - when playing for Mumbai Indians - got the whole Wankhede Stadium to chant "Ma-lin-ga, Ma-lin-ga" when bowling yorkers and slower balls from hell. Used sparingly so far, he has six wickets from the two times that he has bowled, all six - including a hat-trick - against Kenya.
Jesse Ryder is yet to leave any impression in this World Cup; then again he has batted only twice in four games. Batting at No. 3, it's unlikely Ryder won't get a chance in this game, and he will want a longer innings than the 25 and 38 he has managed in the two innings so far.
New Zealand are struggling with injuries, but do not want to rush back the wounded for a game inconsequential to their progress to the quarter-finals. Vettori will get more time to work on his injured knee, and Mills on his quad strain. Hamish Bennett is likely to replace Mills.
New Zealand (probable) 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Brendon McCullum (wk), 3 Jesse Ryder, 4 Ross Taylor (capt), 5 Kane Williamson, 6 Scott Styris, 7 James Franklin, 8 Nathan McCullum, 8 Jacob Oram, 10 Hamish Bennett, 11 Tim Southee
Sri Lanka grapple with the perennial question of which of the Chamaras to pick, Silva or Kapugedera. They could also give Dilhara Fernando a game ahead of Nuwan Kulasekara.
Sri Lanka (probable) 1 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 2 Upul Tharanga, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (capt/wk), 4 Mahela Jayawardene, 5 Thilan Samaraweera, 6 Chamara Silva / Chamara Kapugedera, 7 Angelo Mathews, 8 Thisara Perera, 9 Nuwan Kulasekara / Dilhara Fernando, 10 Lasith Malinga, 11 Muttiah Muralitharan
Try picking the XIs for tomorrow's game by playing Team Selector.
Pitch and conditions
New Zealand scored 358 in the first game at the Wankhede this tournament. There was some assistance for the fast bowlers early on, but it was a day game, so this one promises to be hard work for the bowlers. Not least because of the heat in Mumbai.
Stats and trivia
- Kumar Sangakkara is 49 short of becoming the fourth Sri Lankan, and 14th man overall, to 9000 ODI runs.
- Sri Lanka lead New Zealand 4-3 in their World Cup head-to-head; they have won all of their last three matches.
- With 283 runs from five innings, Tillakaratne Dilshan is the highest run-getter from Group A, but No. 6 overall. Immediately behind Dilshan is Upul Tharanga, with 258 runs.
"Excited to have made the quarterfinals, but our job is not done. It is a very important game tomorrow. We go into it with the purpose of winning. It will be great to win the game and finish in the top two going in to the quarterfinals."
Nathan McCullum knows what exactly is at stake
"Every side likes to build momentum, and take the momentum into the really important stage. At the same time, the sides that might not win in the final first-round game won't be too much worried about it. The quarters, semis and the finals are the one that really count."
Kumar Sangakkara plays down the importance of momentum
Also: most wickets in a two-Test series, and the highest total that could not forestall defeat
Stats highlights from the first day's play in the Mumbai Test