New Zealand vs Sri Lanka, ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 Match Preview: Kane Williamson's Kiwis look to get the ball rolling with win against Sri Lanka

Kane Williamson's New Zealand start clear favourites in their opener against 1996 winners Sri Lanka, a side that has slumped to ninth in the ODI cricket rankings.

Agence France-Presse, Jun 01, 2019 08:29:56 IST

London: New Zealand are happy to go under the radar as they prepare to launch their campaign for World Cup glory against Sri Lanka in Cardiff on Saturday.

File image of Kane Williamson. Reuters

File image of Kane Williamson. Reuters

The Black Caps reached the final four years ago for the first time after six semi-final defeats, only to be soundly beaten by Australia in Melbourne.

Kane Williamson has replaced the swashbuckling Brendon McCullum as captain but the core of the team that came so close in 2015 remains.

Since the last World Cup, New Zealand have risen as high as second in the world rankings but have also been beaten at home by South Africa, England and India.

New Zealand beat fancied India in their opening World Cup warm-up game before going down to the West Indies.

Former Kiwi paceman James Franklin is confident Williamson's side can claim their first World Cup trophy. "New Zealand are in a sweet spot. No one's talking about us too much," he said at the opening party of the 12th edition of the 50-over tournament.

"We're forever the underdogs and that suits us quite well.... If we can get some form going over the next few weeks, there's no reason why New Zealand couldn't go on and win the World Cup," added Franklin.

Taylor has been in breathtaking form in recent years in the one-day game, averaging over 60 in ODIs in 2017 and more than 90 last year.

Williamson, ranked 12th, and Martin Guptill, ranked 10th, are the other main dangermen in the New Zealand batting line-up.

Trent Boult leads an impressive bowling attack, with Colin de Grandhomme and Tim Southee for company. Spinners Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner offer useful variety.

Clear favourites

"The way T20 cricket goes, it can come down to six or 12 runs at the end of it, and ODI cricket is becoming an extended version of T20 cricket in my opinion. If you can make those big 17 or 18-run overs into 12-run overs, that can make a big difference in the end. If we're clear on that, we can go a fair way in this tournament," Boult said.

The Kiwis start clear favourites in their opener against 1996 winners Sri Lanka, a side that has slumped to ninth in the ODI rankings.

Newly appointed captain Dimuth Karunaratne, who has returned to the ODI fold after four years away, has been handed the responsibility of lifting a team that have lost eight of their past nine ODIs.

But Sri Lanka have an impressive World Cup record, with one title, two runners-up finishes and one semi-final appearance.

"Sri Lanka always find a way to do well in World Cups. Yes, there have been some different changes to the set-up. The captain himself hasn't played one-day cricket for a while but he's a wonderful player," said former captain Mahela Jayawardene.

"They are trying to bring a bit more stability into the group. You still have some exciting talent — Angelo Mathews, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis. There are matchwinners in that unit. Four/five wins can get you a semi-final berth and Sri Lanka would be looking at that option and try and execute each game at a time. I still feel they have got a very good chance."

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Updated Date: Jun 01, 2019 08:29:56 IST


World Cup 2019 Points Table

Team p w l nr pts
Australia 5 4 1 0 8
New Zealand 4 3 0 1 7
India 4 3 0 1 7
England 4 3 1 0 6
Sri Lanka 5 1 2 2 4
West Indies 4 1 2 1 3
South Africa 5 1 3 1 3
Bangladesh 4 1 2 1 3
Pakistan 5 1 3 1 3
Afghanistan 4 0 4 0 0





Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3663 105
5 Australia 2640 98
6 Sri Lanka 3462 94
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 5720 124
2 India 5990 122
3 New Zealand 4121 114
4 South Africa 4647 111
5 Australia 4805 109
6 Pakistan 4107 93
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 Australia 5471 261
5 India 7273 260
6 New Zealand 4056 254