About the Match
Being down 2-0 against hosts New Zealand, Sri Lanka kept its hopes alive by bouncing back in the 3rd ODI with a much-needed win by 8 wickets; they will meet each other now for the 4th ODI at Nelson on 2nd January. Setting a target of 277 runs batting first, the Kiwis failed to contain the Lankan top-order during their chase and lost the match with 3 overs remaining. The first two matches saw the hosts chasing targets successfully to emerge victorious but when it came to defending a target, the bowlers couldn’t step up against a rejuvenated Sri Lankan batting. Both teams will try to dominate the other in the upcoming game on Saturday; it needs to be seen which side succeeds to taste glory.
Matt Henry, who took vital 4 wickets in both the first and second ODI, didn’t feature in the 3rd ODI to make way for Southee; however, his absence could well have cost them the match on Thursday as the bowlers failed to defend 277 runs against the Lankans. The upcoming match will yet again see Henry in action as Southee suffered an injury in the previous game; along with McClenaghan, Bracewell, Milne and Santner, the Kiwis look well placed to outwit the opposition.
Guptill and Latham are in very good nick with the bat and they will surely try their best to build a strong foundation as openers; McCullum, who didn’t play the 3rd ODI will be back in the squad and we expect him to fire away at will; Williamson scored 59 off 73 in the last match and along with all-rounders like Santner and Bracewell, took the total to 276 runs. They have proved to be good chasers till now in the series but if batting first, the batsmen have to combine well and put up a competitive total here.
Bowling has been their strength but they need to perform under pressure; Henry, McClenaghan, Milne and Bracewell look good to take regular wickets and contain the Lankan batsmen.
Dilshan and Gunathilaka combined their skills to put up a fierce front during the chase in the 3rd ODI; while Dilshan scored 91 runs before getting run-out, the latter posted 65 off 45 deliveries to put Sri Lanka in the driver’s seat in the do or die match on New Year’s Eve. Thirimanne fought hard as he scored 87 and along with Chandimal by his side, they manged to cross the finish line with ease.
Earlier, the bowlers Chameera, Pradeep and Vandersay took 2 wickets each to restrict the Kiwis to 276 runs; their performance was better than the last two outings when most of the top bowlers went wicketless and gave away too many runs to the opposition. This victory would surely have boosted their morale and they will now try to regain their foothold in the series with another win.
The batsmen have been inconsistent and they need to continue with their winning strategy from the last game; their bowling attack looks good and Chameera, Pradeep, Kulasekara and Siriwardana will try to keep the momentum going here on Saturday.
Although the Kiwis lost the last match, they still have the upper hand to take the series here; Sri Lanka on the other hand has done well to bounce back. While the contest could go down to the wire, we feel that New Zealand will exert dominance again on Saturday to win the fourth ODI.