NZ v SL, World T20, Group 1, Chittagong

Dew may define sudden-death match

Andrew Fidel Fernando

March 30, 2014

Comments: 257 | Text size: A | A

Match facts

Monday, March 31, 2014
Start time 7.30pm local (1330 GMT)

Play
Crowe: Malinga captaining gives NZ edge

Big Picture

Widely tipped to be the sides to progress from the ''easy'' group, Sri Lanka and New Zealand find they must win their final group match or be eliminated. Things have not so far panned out as either had hoped. England are the top-eight team Sri Lanka might have been most comfortable of beating, but they were undone by the best innings of the tournament so far, while New Zealand were victims of one of Twenty20 cricket's most aggressive final overs, from Dale Steyn. Pitches in Chittagong have not been as slow and low as anticipated, and on occasion, both teams have had their team compositions wrong as well.

Both teams now have a clearer grip on their strategy. New Zealand added seam-bowling cover by introducing James Neesham to their XI, and replaced the out-of-sorts Tim Southee with the dependable Trent Boult. Sri Lanka, meanwhile, will absurdly have had their XI boosted by their captain's suspension. Lahiru Thirimanne is most likely to replace Dinesh Chandimal in the middle order.

On most occasions, New Zealand's ability to blunt Sri Lanka's spinners might shape as a key encounter, but evening games in Chittagong have been unkind to slow bowlers. Sri Lanka rifled through five balls in their last match, as Hales and Eoin Morgan pillaged their way through the middle overs. Sachithra Senanayake has not been a penetrative weapon in any case - though Sri Lanka are likely to leave out Ajantha Mendis for Rangana Herath, whose bowling is less sensitive to the conditions. The forecast suggests dew may indeed materialise on Monday night.

New Zealand will be encouraged to have their top order purring after only two full matches in the tournament. Kane Williamson, Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor have all made commanding fifties, and though Sri Lanka's top four has also been among the runs, they have made them in far less convincing fashion.

Form guide

(last five matches, most recent first)
Sri Lanka LWWWW
New Zealand WLWWW

In the spotlight

Lasith Malinga suggested before the match that captaincy should not be too much of a burden, and he might be right. There are three former captains and a current one in the XI. Even when Chandimal was at the helm, many decisions were formed by committee. Where Malinga may feel a little extra pinch is when it comes to taking wickets. Teams have blocked him out safely so far in the tournament, subduing his penetrative potential in return for 10 or so fewer runs from his four overs. He has reclaimed something of his old form in the past two months, but will now hope for a truly matchwinning performance to send his side into the knockouts.

New Zealand ask a lot from Kane Williamson, given his relative youth. He has been shoved up the order to open in this tournament, and though he may still feel more comfortable in the middle overs, he has been steady in his new role. Though not conventionally thought of as one of New Zealand's matchwinners, Williamson is perhaps New Zealand's best player of spin - particularly in Asia. If Sri Lanka's slow-bowlers can make an impact in the match, a well-set Williamson may be best-placed to counter it.

Pitch and conditions

The Chittagong square has seemingly dried out during the tournament's course, but it is yet to match Mirpur for turn. Skies are expected to remain clear for the match, which of course increases the likelihood of dew forming.

Teams news

There is a chance legspinning-allrounder Seekkuge Prasanna may replace Ajantha Mendis instead of Herath, but Sri Lanka are likely to go with Herath - the steadier hand.

Sri Lanka (probable): 1 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 2 Kusal Perera, 3 Mahela Jayawardene, 4 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 5 Lahiru Thirimanne, 6 Angelo Mathews, 7 Thisara Perera, 8 Nuwan Kulasekara, 9 Sachithra Senanayake, 10 Lasith Malinga (capt), 11 Rangana Herath

New Zealand have no cause to change their combination following a comfortable win over Netherlands.

New Zealand (probable): 1 Kane Williamson, 2 Martin Guptill, 3 Brendon McCullum (capt.), 4 Ross Taylor, 5 James Neesham, 6 Corey Anderson, 7 Luke Ronchi (wk), 8 Nathan McCullum, 9 Trent Boult, 10 Kyle Mills, 11 Mitchell McClenaghan


Stats and trivia

  • Sri Lanka's net run rate is 2.124 higher than South Africa's which means, Sri Lanka will likely top the group if they win
  • Brendon McCullum became the first man to 2000 T20 runs against Netherlands. The next-highest runscorer, Mahela Jayawardene, sits 600 runs adrift
  • Tillakaratne Dilshan's strike rate is 112 in 12 innings since the start of 2013

Quotes

"We are playing night games and that's the situation in the tournament. We must know to use those conditions we can't give excuses for our skills. We must know how to play with a wet ball. That's my feeling as a bowler." Sri Lanka acting captain Lasith Malinga on dewy Chittagong nights

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

RSS Feeds: Andrew Fidel Fernando

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by tharindu_td on (April 1, 2014, 4:19 GMT)

Video embedded for this article says "Crowe: Malinga captaining gives NZ edge". I think that was the edge for Sri Lanka where Mahela and Sanga took the steeringwheel.

Posted by   on (March 31, 2014, 16:49 GMT)

Win or loose, Sri Lanka always bring the beauty to the world cricket. Best in it. What a win today.....

Posted by Liyanage.1283 on (March 31, 2014, 15:02 GMT)

Even if SL wins (which I doubt), we dont deserve to be called a good team.

Yesterday, India was in very similar situation, 60 odd for 4 wickets around 11th over like SL today. See the comparison for yourselves at the score India manage to produce (vs) what SL could get. As I always, SL is just a overhyped mediocre team. We still are not there. We should only be lucky, if we can get to semis.

Posted by android_user on (March 31, 2014, 13:31 GMT)

SL will be very happy to lose this toss and bat first. They love defending totals and the dew is also expected to less than expected.

Posted by Liyanage.1283 on (March 31, 2014, 13:20 GMT)

So pity that SL have a captain today who could not even tell properly what is his team composition, at the toss. After Ranatunga, SL never could produce a captain of supremacy.

Posted by Liyanage.1283 on (March 31, 2014, 13:11 GMT)

This comes from a sane Srilankan fan.

The more other fella srilankan fans remain shut, the more its better for us, than to be proved as insane.

We are still a team slightly better than minnows and never won tests in most nations (including INDIA).

We have only 'so called' legends now who average in early or mid 30s. Being a srilankan, I can claim Aravinda de silva and muralidharan as the only legends that SL produced all these 40 years as compared to lot of legends and greats that other countries went on to produce in this period, so we have to accept the hard fact that, we still not there. And we will look funny if we claim so.

Posted by android_user on (March 31, 2014, 13:10 GMT)

sri lanka has a bit of edge in this match because of malinga factor. in the batting department they have highly experienced batters up in batting line that makes lankans difficult to beat

Posted by android_user on (March 31, 2014, 13:03 GMT)

New zealand won the toss..yippeee!! But there's not much dew tonight..let's hope it comes later when new zealand come onto bat.. SL fans get ready..

Posted by itsqashi on (March 31, 2014, 12:40 GMT)

Winners get ready you have to face Pak in Semi. Best of luck to both the team. Both the team are in good shape and no favrit.

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