About the Match
With only one spot remaining for semi-finalist from Group 1, New Zealand and Sri Lanka are poised for a tough battle ahead on Mar 31st at Chittagong. Both teams have 4 points each on the table and are behind South Africa, which has already reserved its berth in the semi-finals with 6 points. Though the Lankans had started out well, their defeat against England slid them down to second position and with the Kiwis winning their match against Netherlands; it could be anybody’s game from here on. It needs to be seen which team can keep the nerves together and emerge victorious to take their campaign ahead.
Brendon McCullum single-handedly steered his team to their highest successful chase in World T20 by scoring 65 off 45 balls and becoming the first batsman to score 2000 runs in T20Is. With this victory against Netherlands, the Kiwis fought hard to keep their semi-final hopes alive. Chasing 152 runs, the score was at 88-3 when McCullum took charge; along with Anderson he added 46 runs to the board for the 4th wicket and took the team safely home in 19 overs. Williamson and Taylor had tried to build the innings with a good partnership but the Dutch bowlers got the better of them. The captain displayed sheer determination as he smashed away 4 four and 3 sixes to dominate the opponents; earlier the bowlers had kept a tight attack, taking regular wickets but Netherland’s Peter Borren and Tom Cooper had managed to get a good total in the end. Against Sri Lanka, the Kiwis will have to be sharper and better prepared for the spin and swing; they will need to come out all guns blazing if they want to survive the challenge on Monday.
It was an unfortunate loss against England as the bowlers failed to restrict Alex Hales from chasing the 190 runs target set by the batsmen. Mahela Jayawardene’s 89 off 51 deliveries displayed his immense talent and experience and with Dilshan’s 55 run contribution, Sri Lanka had looked well placed to win the match. However, they were in for surprise as the English batsmen led by Hales turned to offensive and fought hard to emerge victorious. Kulasekara was the only bowler to get wickets, but even his 4-32 couldn’t restrict the opponents from reaching the target. The other bowlers weren’t as sharp and gave away too many runs, with Mendis, Mathews and Perera going for 13+ run overs. It wasn’t their best performance with the ball and the Lankans will be better prepared to strangle the Kiwis on Monday. They will be wary of the opponents, who have a reputation of being game-changers; if they can keep the bowling tight and the batsmen can repeat their brilliance, nothing can stop this team from moving to the next stage.
Both teams have a lot going for them and will keep their focus on the semi-final berth; while the Kiwis have done very well to get here, the Lankans have far better experience in facing critical situations. Though the contest could go either way, Sri Lanka’s has the required expertise in all departments of the game and seems confident to pull off another win here.
Sri Lanka, 1.61 @ Bet365