This could be a really tough World Cup for Sri Lanka. A team that seems to be in turmoil, first by sacking Angelo Mathews after a disastrous Asia Cup, followed by not picking his replacement as captain – Niroshan Dickwella for this World Cup.
Current captain Dimuth Karunaratne has played one ODI for Sri Lanka since the last World Cup and that was against Scotland of all teams.
Things do not bode well for a country that gave us Dilshan, Sangakkara and Murali. There is a serious possibility that they could go into every game as underdogs, including against Afghanistan.
New Zealand, on the other hand, are the Mr Reliable of cricket. They are incredibly consistent when it comes to World Cups, getting to the final in 2015 after pulling off a miracle result against South Africa.
In Kane Williamson, they probably have one of the most technically gifted players in the game whose statistics can match up with the very best. They also have two of the fastest seem bowlers out there in Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson.
If New Zealand are serious about going far in this World Cup, these are games that have to be winning and winning well.
You just really feel that Sri Lanka are going to struggle to put up big runs against anyone in this World Cup, so they will be heavily dependent on their bowlers to get them into games. It’s an ageing attack with Malinga, Lakmal and Jeevan Mendis.
I reckon if New Zealand end up batting first they could rack up a very decent score and the game could be out of Sri Lanka’s reach by lunch. With question marks over the openers for New Zealand, neither Munro or Guptill are really firing at the moment, I expect Williamson and Taylor to pile on the runs.
When presented with the new white ball, Boult and Ferguson will be firing in balls like projected missiles at the Sri Lankan batsman and that’s why we’re going with The Black Caps to win here.
* All odds correct at time of posting.