Sri Lanka eye semifinal berth in final group match against NZ

Their semifinal hopes hanging in balance after the loss to England, Sri Lanka would be aiming to bring their Champions Trophy campaign back on track.

updated: September 26, 2009 14:10 IST
  • Total Shares


Their semifinal hopes hanging in balance after the loss to England, Sri Lanka would be aiming to bring their Champions Trophy campaign back on track against a struggling New Zealand in their final Group B match here on Sunday.

In a group where hosts South Africa and the consistent Lankans were seen as favourites to qualify for the semifinals, the race to the last-four stage has been thrown wide open after England's win last night.

Sri Lanka beat South Africa in a rain-hit opener before being upstaged by the inspired Englishmen on a seam-friendly track. A win tomorrow would put them back in contention for a semifinal spot.

On the other hand, New Zealand would be looking for their first win of the tournament.

Beaten by South Africa, the Kiwis will have to raise their game by several notches to get the better of Kumar Sangakkara's men.

The Lankans boast of a solid batting line-up, which had a rare bad day in office against England, while the bowling has a lot of variety to offer.

Ageless warrior Sanath Jayasuriya, dismissed for a naught last night, would be aiming for a big knock.

The likes of Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene and Sangakkara himself would be relishing the opportunity of having a go at the Kiwi attack, which they had taken to the cleaners just a few weeks ago in a home series.

Bowling has been Sri Lanka's major strength and Ajantha Mendis and Co would be expected to continue with fine form.

The Kiwis, in contrast, have been struggling for long in batting. Their top order has let them down time and again and the team would be hoping that top willow-wielders Brendon McCullum and Jesse Ryder finally come good.

If batting has been a let down, the bowling hasn't been any good either. Lot was expected from comeback man Shane Bond but he hasn't quite made an impact so far.

In Vettori, the Kiwis have one of the best spinners in the world and though he has done his job well, he can't come up with solo winning efforts all the time.

On paper, Sri Lanka would start firm favourites but the Kiwis have been known to spring a surprise every now and then.

Teams (from):

New Zealand: Daniel Vettori (c), Shane Bond, Neil Broom, Ian Butler, Brendon Diamanti, Grant Elliott, Martin Guptill, Gareth Hopkins, Brendon McCullum, Kyle Mills, James Franklin, Jeetan Patel, Jesse Ryder, Ross Taylor, Daryl Tuffey.

Sri Lanka: Kumar Sangakkara (C), Sanath Jayasuriya, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Upul Tharanga, Mahela Jayawardene, Thilan Samaraweera, Chamara Kapugedara, Angelo Mathews, Muttiah Muralitharan, Ajantha Mendis, Thilan Thushara, Nuwan Kulasekara, Dhammika Prasad, Lasith Malinga, Thilina Kandamby.