Head to head
New Zealand vs Sri Lanka
Coming off of the first real competition of the tournament New Zealand were soundly beaten by Australia and Sri Lanka. While topping South Africa nicely. Should be coming into this game in reasonably good touch.
Bond: One of the finest pace bowlers in this tournament. So far in this world cup he has went for nothing and taken valuable wickets.
Vettori: Probably the most experienced cricketer in the world for his age. If New Zealanders other bowlers have bowled well it gives him lease to go for wickets which he does quite well. If not he bowls very tightly.
Fleming: A highly rated international captain, he has also been on good form in this world cup.
Styris: New Zealands best batsmen in this tournament and one of their top middle over bowlers. A great all rounder.
Franklin: While a handy batsmen and capable bowler, is rather inconsistent with the ball. But a player that we do need
to play, while not reliable he can
be a match winner. 30% of the time.
The other NZ seam option: Mason Gillespie and the now gone Tuffey have all been rather bad with the ball in this tournament and at this late stage of the tournament Martin is a very dangerous gamble to play.
Top order collapse: With Vincents injury and Fulton taking up his mantle some of New Zealands new found spark at the top of the order has been lost. Also against a team like Sri Lanka this kind of collapse can spell disaster to setting a decent score.
What to Watch
The first ten overs. Whether batting or bowling this can be where New Zealand wins or loses a game.
Jeetan Patel, a player who has proven his worth throughout this world cup and will hopefuly get his reward by playing in this game. A great prospect for the future and a very clever young spin bowler. Was able to pull Hayden and Ponting back while they were going at full force. Definitely an impressive feat.
Ross Taylor, will he get that big score that he has shown he is very capable of doing? And if he does, will he cramp up again?
Sri Lanka, maybe Australias biggest threat in this world cup with one of the most fearsome bowling line ups out there. This side has come leaps and bounds in all departments, a sub-continent team that can field? Ye gads!
Jayasuriya: Not much needs to be said about this player. If he fires, its an inferno.
Vaas: This man has a great record against Fleming, will he be able to stifle the kiwi captain once more?
Malinga: One of the best strike bowlers in the world, a man who always looks like taking a wicket. His yorkers are precise and his speed is impressive. A player that can set any teams stumps flying.
Murali: The greatest spinner in the world, a destroyer
of teams and a man the Black Caps will definitely not be happy bowling at them.
Tharanga: He hasn't had the best world cup and will definitely be looking to improve. With an average of just 24 he may be exposed by the New Zealanders early on.
Maharoof/Fernando: Sri Lankas other faster bowling options have been exploited in the past against good teams, New Zealand will definitely be looking to go after them. (If they're playing that is.)
Depth of batting: While not the worst out there, New Zealanders batting depth is one that allows them to chase down massive scores with no huge fear of losing wickets as long as they play at a good pace. While New Zealands batting goes down to 9 with confident batsman. Sri Lankas depending on the chosen squad usually falls a couple batsman short of that, and if chasing a large total this will put more pressure on the top order to suceed.
What to Watch
Sangakarra: How confident is this man behind the stumps? He seems like he could catch anything back there, he has taken 15 victims in this World cup with 4 stumpings.
The middle overs: While New Zealand have dominated in the middle overs thus far in the world cup, with a team of handy spinners and the great Murali, Sri Lanka definitely make the kiwi's work hard for their runs.
NZ bat first
Sri Lanka victory 70%
SRL bat first
NZ victory 60%
An even looking match, and with a pitch that isn't turning as much I think New Zealand would be confident in chasing anything SRL post up. But if NZ are to bat first, nerves of facing such a fierce attack while trying to post a good score will tip the balance to SRL.