A defeat in the first Test saw Sri Lanka exiting the WTC final race. They followed it up by another loss and suffered a white-wash. Now the focus shifts towards the ODIs. Sri Lanka are fighting for direct qualification to the mega event (ODI World Cup), which is to happen later in the year.
The scenario isn’t different to what it was at the start of the Test series. They had to white-wash their opponents to qualify for the WTC finals, and here as well, they need to win the series 3-0 to topple West Indies and South Africa.
The hosts have no pressure on them as they are sitting pretty at second in the table. However, their home record is at stake. In the last five bilateral ODI series, New Zealand haven’t lost a single one. Interestingly, apart from the India series (1-0) in 2022, they have white-washed each of their opponents in the remaining four.
The Eden Park, Auckland, is certainly one of the smallest grounds across the globe. One end of the straight boundary is less than 50 meters, and the covers to the right-handers and midwicket to left-handers is just above 50 meters.
Keeping in mind the small boundaries, teams in the last five matches have all chosen to bowl first. However, those dimensions can be deceptive in the elongated limited over format. Which is why, teams batting first have won three out of the last five.
In terms of wickets percentage, pacers have dominated that by picking up 80.6 percent of the wickets as compared to 19.4 percent. There is nothing to differentiate between the both when it comes to strike rate. Pacers have snaffled a wicket every 36.7 balls and spinners have done it in 36.6 balls.
While you could go for the above team, you can also choose your team from Cricket.com’s Fantasy Research Centre. You can use this tool to build your team with the help of algorithms. Then, based on your preferences, the platform will guide you through creating the ideal fantasy XI.
Stats that matter
-In the last 10 home ODIs, Tom Latham has scored 611 runs at an average of 122.2 and a strike rate of 112.5. He has hit three centuries and two half-centuries, with 145* against India, being his best. Overall, in home ODIs since 2019, among batters who have played 10+ innings, Latham’s average of 82.7 is the best.
-In the last 10 ODIs against New Zealand in their backyard, Sri Lanka have managed to win only two. One ended as a no-result and the remaining seven were losses. In the last four matches in New Zealand, they have lost all four.
-Post the 2019 ODI World Cup, New Zealand have played 11 bilateral series and have lost only three. All the three came in an away bilateral series. Twice against Australia, and one against India in 2023.
Grand league punts
-Pathum Nissanka has been the flag bearer for Sri Lanka in ODIs since 2022, in the batting department. The batter has scored 563 runs at an average of 51.2. Among the Lankan batters who have scored 50+ runs, only two batters average 40+ and Nissanka is the only to average 50+.
-It’s not only in Tests, Matt Henry has been in great form in the ODIs as well. In 2022, the right-arm quick scalped 18 wickets at an average of 23.2 and a strike rate of 29.5. Alongside Trent Boult, Henry was the leading wicket taker for New Zealand last year.
Top Criclytics predictions
New Zealand: Finn Allen, Chad Bowes, Will Young, Daryl Mitchell, Tom Latham (c & wk), Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Blair Tickner, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Ish Sodhi
Sri Lanka: Pathum Nissanka, Nuwanidu Fernando, Kusal Mendis (wk), Charith Asalanka, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dasun Shanaka (c), Wanindu Hasaranga, Lahiru Kumara, Kasun Rajitha, Mahesh Theeksahana