Semi-Final Race: New Zealand vs. Sri Lanka

The Crucial Matchup

After a month of non-stop cricket action with 40 matches leading up to this pivotal encounter, the weather in Bengaluru may be the deciding factor in the race for the last semi-final berth in the Cricket World Cup 2025. Let’s take a closer look at how New Zealand vs Sri Lanka got to this critical moment.

New Zealand’s Rollercoaster Ride

New Zealand’s journey in the tournament has been a rollercoaster. Despite four wins from their first four games and two impressive scores of 383 and 401, they find themselves in a precarious position. The 383 runs came in a close loss to Australia, while the 401 preceded some unexpected brilliance from Fakhar Zaman, who wasn’t even in the starting XI at the beginning of the tournament.

However, New Zealand’s fate remains largely in their own hands. A victory against Sri Lanka would almost certainly secure the fourth semi-final slot, with only Pakistan having a chance to outdo their net run rate (NRR). Afghanistan, although also with the opportunity to reach ten points, faces a nearly insurmountable NRR challenge. In contrast, Sri Lanka has had an underwhelming tournament, reaching a low point in their comprehensive defeat to Bangladesh.

The Semi-Final Race

The margin of defeat in their last match has left Sri Lanka in eighth place, which is the cutoff for qualification in the Champions Trophy 2025. Only NRR keeps them above the ninth-placed Netherlands, with Bangladesh tied on points but ahead due to a superior NRR. Sri Lanka’s elimination is possible only if two other teams reach six points while they fail to do so.

The Unpredictable Element: Rain

The rain could prove to be a game-changer for New Zealand, as they desperately need the full two points to secure their semi-final spot. Anything less could open the door for Pakistan, Afghanistan, or both to overtake them. A rainout might favor Sri Lanka, but it would also depend on other teams losing their final matches.

Head-to-Head Battle

New Zealand and Sri Lanka’s recent head-to-head record has been one-sided, with Sri Lanka’s last ODI victory against New Zealand dating back to 2015.

Recent Form

  • New Zealand: LLLLW (Last five completed ODIs; most recent first)
  • Sri Lanka: LLLWW

Key Players to Watch

Rachin Ravindra: The Rising Star

Rachin Ravindra has been a revelation in the World Cup, accumulating 523 runs. His ODI career began only this year, and he quickly secured a place in New Zealand’s top order. With an impressive average of 74.71, he is one of the top run-scorers in the tournament. His debut ODI innings against Sri Lanka saw him score 49 from 52 balls.

Kusal Mendis: Sri Lanka’s Hope

Kusal Mendis, named captain two games into the tournament, started with strong performances but has struggled lately. Sri Lanka desperately needs him to rediscover his form and provide the inspiration they need to secure a win.

Team News

New Zealand’s Matt Henry has been ruled out of the World Cup, while Sri Lanka may consider including Kyle Jamieson and Lockie Ferguson to exploit their weakness against short-pitched bowling.

New Zealand (probable):

  1. Devon Conway
  2. Rachin Ravindra
  3. Kane Williamson (capt.)
  4. Daryl Mitchell
  5. Tom Latham (wk)
  6. Glenn Phillips
  7. Mark Chapman
  8. Mitchell Santner
  9. Ish Sodhi/Kyle Jamieson
  10. Trent Boult
  11. Tim Southee/Lockie Ferguson

Sri Lanka (probable):

  1. Pathum Nissanka
  2. Kusal Perera
  3. Kusal Mendis (capt, wk)
  4. Sadeera Samarawickrama
  5. Charith Asalanka
  6. Angelo Mathews
  7. Dhananjaya de Silva
  8. Maheesh Theekshana
  9. Kasun Rajitha
  10. Dushmantha Chameera
  11. Dilshan Madushanka

Pitch and Conditions

The Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru has seen high-scoring matches, with New Zealand amassing 401 against Pakistan and Sri Lanka securing a memorable win against England. The only question remains: will the rain stay away?

Stats and Trivia

  • Rachin Ravindra is tied with Sachin Tendulkar for most runs at a World Cup before turning 25.
  • Dilshan Madushanka is seven wickets away from becoming the all-time highest wicket-taker in a single edition of a World Cup.
  • Sri Lanka has won just three of their last 20 ODIs against New Zealand, losing seven of their last eight, with one game abandoned.
  • Two out of three games at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in this World Cup have seen the side batting first score above 350, with only England failing to do so against Sri Lanka.

With all this at stake, the New Zealand vs. Sri Lanka clash promises to be a thrilling encounter, determining the fate of both teams in the Cricket World Cup 2025. Stay tuned for an exciting match in Bengaluru!

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