Danger game for Black Caps in World Cup opener
The Sri Lankan cricket team aren’t expected to achieve a whole lot in this year’s ICC World Cup, New Zealand on the other hand will be looking to go one step further in 2019 after a heartbreaking loss saw them return home empty handed in the 2015 World Cup final against Australia. Heading into this year’s tournament with plenty of wicket-taking options at their disposal and an experienced batting line-up, the Black Caps are once again title contenders.
With Tom Latham expected to return for New Zealand’s World Cup opener despite breaking his finger three weeks ago, a full strength Kiwi outfit looks set to dominate early in the tournament. Skipper Kane Williamson has been in superb form throughout the Black Caps two warm-up games against India and the West Indies, scoring 67 & 85 respectively. Much like the West Indies, New Zealand will hurt you if early wickets go astray with the likes of Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson at the crease. Seamer Nuwan Pradeep and veteran Lasith Malinga are probably Sri Lanka’s best chance of making early inroads to this Black Caps line-up. Sri Lanka have plenty of slow bowlers at their disposal, however they may not be the most effective options against this Kiwi outfit. The good news for the underdogs is that Martin Guptill’s form coming into this match hasn’t been the greatest, managing just 27 runs in two warm-up games.
Brute honesty would tell you that Sri Lanka needs a minor-miracle to win this match; they lack consistency throughout their entire squad which makes things even more challenging. Axing experienced-duo Upul Tharanga and Dinesh Chandimal from their World Cup squad sent shockwaves throughout the country despite the pair’s poor form, a man averaging just over 20 as a specialist batsman has been given the captaincy which is a slap in the face to Dinesh Chandimal who averages 32+. Now heavily-reliant on Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis and Angelo Mathews, Sri Lanka could be taught a lesson by the Black Caps star-studded fast bowling unit. Consecutive four-wicket hauls to Trent Boult in New Zealand’s warm-up matches along with Tim Southee’s uncanny ability to make the ball hoop around all over the place potentially leaves Sri Lanka extremely vulnerable.
Top 4 fantasy picks – New Zealand
- Trent Boult
- Kane Williamson
- Tim Southee
- Ross Taylor
Wildcard pick – James Neesham
Top 4 fantasy picks – Sri Lanka
- Kusal Mendis
- Nuwan Pradeep
- Angelo Mathews
- Dhananjaya de Silva
Wildcard pick – Kusal Perera
Predicted Team XI’s
New Zealand (possible) – 1. Martin Guptill 2. Henry Nicholls 3. Kane Williamson © 4. Ross Taylor 5. Tom Latham/Tom Blundell (wk) 6. James Neesham 7. Colin de Grandhomme 8. Mitchell Santner 9. Tim Southee 10. Lockie Ferguson/Matt Henry 11. Trent Boult.
Sri Lanka (possible) – 1. Lahiru Thirimanne 2. Dimuth Karunaratne © 3. Kusal Perera (wk) 4. Kusal Mendis 5. Angelo Mathews 6. Dhananjaya de Silva 7. Jeevan Mendis 8. Thisara Perera 9. Suranga Lakmal 10. Nuwan Pradeep 11. Lasith Malinga.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.