Thursday, 9th November at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru
Following Glenn Maxwell’s exceptional performance against Afghanistan, New Zealand retains the fourth position in the Cricket World Cup standings. However, the Black Caps need to step up their game to secure a spot in the knockout stages of the tournament.
With Pakistan and Afghanistan hot on their heels, only a decisive win against Sri Lanka in Bengaluru can offer some respite to Kane Williamson’s team. While a defeat wouldn’t necessarily eliminate them, it would leave their fate hanging on the outcomes of other matches.
After a roller-coaster tournament, New Zealand enjoyed a four-match winning streak before succumbing to India. The team hasn’t tasted victory since and is eager to reverse this trend against Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka’s sixth defeat of the tournament came at the hands of Bangladesh, a disappointing outcome for a team playing in conditions that suit their style. Despite impressive performances from Sadeera Samarawickrama, Pathum Nissanka, and Dilshan Madushanka, many of the team’s star players have underperformed.
The team has the opportunity to turn things around with a spirited performance in Bengaluru.
New Zealand Squad: Kane Williamson (c), Trent Boult, Mark Chapman, Devon Conway, Lockie Ferguson, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitch Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Will Young.
Sri Lanka Squad: Kusal Mendis (c), Kusal Perera, Pathum Nissanka, Dushmantha Chameera, Dimuth Karunaratne, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Maheesh Theekshana, Dunith Wellalage, Kasun Rajitha, Angelo Mathews, Dilshan Madushanka, Dushan Hemantha, Chamika Karunaratne.
Players to Watch
New Zealand – Kane Williamson
New Zealand’s star player, Kane Williamson, made a triumphant return to the tournament, scoring a confident 95 off 79 deliveries. Despite his efforts, Fakhar Zaman’s stunning knock for Pakistan overshadowed his performance.
Now, Williamson faces the dual challenge of performing with the bat and rallying his team after their crushing defeat to Pakistan. As the team’s long-standing leader, Williamson is well-versed in his team’s strengths and weaknesses.
A change in strategy is required, and Williamson is the ideal candidate to lead this shift.
Sri Lanka – Maheesh Theekshana
Despite Dilshan Madushanka’s impressive leadership, Sri Lanka has struggled to maintain pressure throughout the game. Their lead spinner, Maheesh Theekshana, has had a less than stellar tournament, with five wickets at an average of 67.8.
However, Theekshana’s career statistics and recent performances in tournaments like the Asia Cup suggest that he has more to offer. If he can deliver at crucial moments, Sri Lanka will have a stronger chance of influencing the match’s outcome.