New Zealand vs Sri Lanka hasn’t graced the T20I format since September 2019, but the match-up will have major consequences on the Super 12 stage of the 2022 T20 World Cup.
A high-profile Australia vs England clash became the third Group A game to produce no result on Friday, throwing the group wide open. New Zealand, at the top of the table with three points from two games, take on Sri Lanka, who are placed fifth but could leapfrog all the other sides with a win, on Saturday, October 29 at the SCG.
Sri Lanka got their tournament off to a positive start with a comprehensive win over Ireland and were in the game for large swathes against Australia but crumbled to suffer a net run rate decrease. Star leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga had the worst outing of his T20I career as he struggled to hit the right lengths on a pitch that was pacer-friendly.
New Zealand, on the other hand, hammered the Aussies in their first game of the T20 World Cup before seeing their clash against Afghanistan washed out without a ball bowled. The Kiwis are known to raise their game in ICC tournaments and are slowly coming together as a unit.
Can Sri Lanka overcome the myriad of injuries they’ve suffered in the T20 World Cup and reach the top of Group A? Or will the Kiwis reaffirm their position at the summit?
The SCG has produced a decent wicket for batting, with something in it for both the pacers and the spinners. Hasaranga was taken for 53 runs in just three overs by a rampaging Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis against Australia, and New Zealand’s middle order will also want to put pressure on the leggie on Saturday.
Finn Allen made a splash to kick off the T20 World Cup, and Sri Lanka might need to employ Maheesh Theekshana in the powerplay. The Lankans’ pace attack looks thin amidst all the injuries, and the Kiwis will welcome pace on the ball early on.
Sri Lanka will be wary of how their middle order fares against New Zealand, with most batters appearing to be far from their best. Charith Asalanka has found his feet to a certain extent, but the batting unit doesn’t wear a cohesive look. Bhanuka Rajapaksa and captain Dasun Shanaka haven’t quite delivered thus far, especially against spin. And the Kiwis have two excellent operators in Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi.
That could be the difference between the two sides on Saturday, with New Zealand having the bowling resources both upfront and in the middle overs to trouble the Sri Lankan batters. Unless someone in the Lankan side can come up with something special, the Black Caps should be able to stay unbeaten in the 2022 T20 World Cup.
NZ vs SL Match Prediction: New Zealand to win today
Poll : Who will win on Saturday?
New Zealand
Sri Lanka

106 votes
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