The identity of the second semi-finalists from Group 1, alongside South Africa, comes down to this final day-night contest between New Zealand and Sri Lanka on Monday in what is sure to be an action-packed and dramatic Twenty20 International in Chittagong.
Both sides have so far won two of their three matches in the competition to sit level on four points, effectively making this a straight quarter-final knockout clash, so be sure to tune in as this promises to be an eye-catching affair in Chittagong.
either way looking like a knockout between new zealand and sri lanka day after tomorrow.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) March 29, 2014
What: New Zealand vs. Sri Lanka
Where: Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Chittagong
When: Monday, March 31, 1:30 p.m. GMT/ 7:30 p.m. local time
Live Stream/TV info: Sky Sports 2, live 2-6 p.m., highlights 8-10 p.m. and 10-12 p.m.
Who will win this final Group 1 match between New Zealand and Sri Lanka?
New Zealand: BB McCullum*, CJ Anderson, TA Boult, AP Devcich, MJ Guptill, RM Hira, MJ McClenaghan, NL McCullum, KD Mills, C Munro, JDS Neesham, L Ronchi†, TG Southee, LRPL Taylor, KS Williamson
Sri Lanka: LD Chandimal*, SL Malinga, TM Dilshan, HMRKB Herath, DPMD Jayawardene, KMDN Kulasekara, RAS Lakmal, AD Mathews, BAW Mendis, MDKJ Perera, NLTC Perera, S Prasanna, KC Sangakkara†, SMSM Senanayake, HDRL Thirimanne
New Zealand: Two wins from three so far in Group 1 for the Kiwis, the same as their opponents, has led to this winner-takes-all showdown, with those victories coming against England via the Duckworth-Lewis method and underdogs Netherlands, in between which came a narrow loss to the Proteas.
Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal’s side initially lived up to their tag as Group 1 favourites by narrowly disposing of South Africa (see above) and then annihilating minnows Netherlands, however, with a place in the semi-finals there for the taking, they then lost a high-scoring thriller last time out to England.
Brendon McCullum: The Black Caps skipper has been in imposing form with the bat so far in the tournament, with his quick-fire 16 from just six balls before the heavens opened proving crucial to his team just getting over the line against England via the Duckworth-Lewis method last weekend.
Brendon McCullum T20I career; Matches 67, Runs 2044, Avge 36.50, Ball-Faced 1500, S/R 136.26, 50+ scores 15, Fours 192, Sixes 85. #Wt20— Live Updates (@ICC_SPORTS) March 30, 2014
And while the big-hitting batsman did then fail in the Kiwis’ two-run loss to the Proteas, the 32-year-old was back on song on Saturday to guide New Zealand to victory over Netherlands with an over to spare by making 65 off only 45 deliveries, with four fours and three sixes at a strike-rate of 144.
Mahela Jayawardene: The former captain had looked desperately out of nick in the first two contests, although as England found out to their cost on Thursday, form is temporary, while class is permanent.
Riding his luck at the start, the veteran batsman went on to compile a remarkably carefree 89 from 51 balls, an innings that was decorated with 11 boundary fours and three maximums, to seemingly ease the graceful and silky-smooth 36-year-old back to somewhere near his best again, so New Zealand be warned.
Weather: We are expecting a low of 27 degrees Celsius and a high of 36 degrees Celsius, with no chance of rain, for this final Super 10 contest in Group 1.
Pitch: With this being the evening game, because of the excessive dew on the outfield, the side that wins the toss will surely want to bowl first, although as we saw in England’s three-run loss to the Proteas on Saturday, that is still no guarantee of victory.
Either way, however, the surface here in Chittagong has played true throughout the tournament, with negligible spin to be report for the tweakers either.