Match Preview – New Zealand vs Sri Lanka, ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022/23, 27th Match, Group 1

Big picture In terms of fatigue, New Zealand has had a good start to the tournament. They beat Australia in Sydney, then took the short flight to Melbourne, where their match against Afghanistan was rained out without a pitch. Of course they would have preferred to play that game, but they didn’t have to deal with crazy schedules or drastic changes in the time zone. Sri Lanka, meanwhile, has been blown away and arrives in Sydney in disarray. They had started their campaign in Geelong, in the qualifiers, and have since lost no less than three fast bowlers to injuries. Three days after the qualifiers ended, they played a match in Hobart. Two days later they played Australia in Perth. Now they have been shot back across the continent to Sydney. On the side, by the way, there seems to be a bit of consternation about their schedule. Their next game, Tuesday, is in Brisbane. Then they come back to Sydney.

However, Sri Lanka tends to find grievances in high profile assignments, but perhaps more importantly, they have a history of weaponizing that grievance, to work their way to good results. Test tours of South Africa in 2019, England in 2014, the T20 World Cup in 2014 and of course the big one – the 1996 World Cup – are some examples. But here they are up against a side that seems much better drilled, and much more settled than they are.

Of the 13 completed matches this year, New Zealand has lost only three. They have a top nuclear order, good firepower through the middle and a top notch seam attack for Australian conditions. Sri Lanka, meanwhile, is doing top runs without the middle class really contributing, and their attack looks more vulnerable after Tuesday’s loss to Australia.

Sri Lanka must dig deep and find new gear to overcome their cricket and fatigue-related conditions. New Zealand just needs to build on what they’ve already done.

Form GuideNew Zealand WLWWW (matches completed, most recent first)Sri Lanka LWWWL

In the spotlight It’s well known that the likes of Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Lockie Ferguson are good at winding it up, but don’t sleep on Mitchell Santner, who put down some impressive stats this year. Against Australia, he took 3 for 31 bowling in the power play and then through the center overs. In T20Is this year, he has 17 wickets from 12 games, with an economy rate of 6.69. It’s not often Wanindu Hasaranga is taken apart, but he was clear in the last game and went for 0 for 53 of his three overs as he kept trying to throw the ball up and catch Australia’s batters in Perth’s great outfield, but failed repeatedly. Perth’s bouncy castle didn’t quite suit his bowling, but Sydney, where Sri Lanka’s spinners have done well in the past, might be a good fit for him. It is rare for him to play two bad games in a row.

Field and conditions Fortunately, after two raining out games on Friday, the forecasts look good in Sydney. This match will be played on a fresh ground and there is likely to be a short side of the ground. The SCG has generally been the best hitting surface in the tournament so far.

Sri Lanka (possibly): 1 Kusal Mendis (wk), 2 Pathum Nissanka, 3 Dhananjaya de Silva, 4 Charith Asalanka, 5 Bhanuka Rajapaksa, 6 Dasun Shanaka (capt), 7 Wanindu Hasaranga, 8 Chamika Karunaratne, 9 Maheesh Theekshana, 10 Pramod Madushan, 11 Lahiru Kumara

New Zealand (possibly): 1 Finn Allen, 2 Devon Conway (World Cup), 3 Kane Williamson (Capt.), 4 Glenn Phillipps, 5 James Neesham, 6 Mark Chapman, 7 Mitchell Santner, 8 Ish Sodhi, 9 Tim Southee, 10 Lockie Ferguson, 11 Trent Boult

Quotes “If it’s a good batting wicket and a quick outfield, the runs are there to take. We need to use a different game plan on a field like this.” Sri Lanka assistant coach Naveed Nawaz has to adjust to Sydney, in the have played in three other locations in the past 12 days.

“It feels like it’s been a while since we’ve played, but we’ve had some good practice in between.” New Zealand fast bowler Tim Southee on the very different kind of challenge his team faces.

Leave a Comment