World Cup 2011 -
World Cup 2011
Friday, 18 March 2011 11:34
Contributed by Mayank Jhaveri
In the last 3 days of the Group stage matches, we have some superb matches lined up this weekend. One of them being New Zealand taking on Sri Lanka in Mumbai.
Unfortunately, this group has already been decided. Both NZ and SL have overpowered the minnows of the group with ease. However, SL is yet to win against a big nation with the Australia game being washed out.
Meanwhile, New Zealand have quietly played themselves into a strong position and have momentum on their side. Having beaten the talented Pakistan, they will surely be confident.
Let’s look at the strengths and weaknesses of both the teams:
Before the World Cup started, no one really gave them a chance of winning it or doing well. Even more so, after the Australia game. But, they have had a sudden jump in form that makes them look a dangerous side with vice captain Ross Taylor looking ominously good. This match however, could be Brendon McCullum's since it should be yet another flat deck in Mumbai.
Kiwis are facing fitness issues with skipper Daniel Vettori and Kyle Mills not being cent percent fit. If fit, they should play and get isome much needed practice for the quarterfinal.
The middle order still remains an issue for the Islanders. Having only played one complete game against a big team, they don't have too much match practice. That means they will depend on the top 4 to fire yet again.
This match could be a real test since they will be not only be playing a decent side, but also away from home. If at all, they progress to Finals, they will be playing at this very venue, so Lankans will be keen to get used to conditions as much as possible.
Being an inconsequential game, both teams might be tempted to rest some players and try those who have been benched so far. But, with both teams in a safe position, I would want them to take their chances, try some gambles and make it a high voltage match.
Prediction: Sri Lankans are a slightly more settled side on paper, but New Zealand have already played in Mumbai and have momentum on their side. So should be a close contest, with Sri Lanka being the favourites yet again. Had this been in Sri Lanka, could have been far more one sided.