On-song New Zealand look to start right against SL

Their morale sky high after a 2-1 series win over England, New Zealand would look to carry their good form into the Champions Trophy when they clash with Sri Lanka in a Group A match here on Sunday.

Sri Lanka have an overwhelming record of winning 10 of their last 11 ODI matches and six in a row against the Kiwis but the Black Caps would back themselves to reverse the trend particularly when their batsmen are in superb touch. 

Opener Martin Guptill smashed two consecutive hundreds against England and Ross Taylor hit half-centuries in all the three matches of the series.

Skipper Brendon McCullum on his day can demolish any attack, so much of the Kiwis’ fortunes would depend on how their top-order performs.

The Kiwis are also perhaps the best acclimatised side after hosts England having spent some good amount of time here. They know the conditions well which will help them sort out their team combination quickly.

However, while against England they faced a pace-pronged attack, in Sri Lanka they face a side which is full of wily spinners, led by Sachitra Senanayake. Jeevan Mendis, Rangana Herath are the other specialist spinners while Tillakaratne Dilshan can also be handy.
 
The spin attack would be key to Sri Lanka’s performance even as Lasith Malinga and Nuwan Kulasekara can do the job in helpful conditions. Even Kiwi coach Mike Hesson has acknowledged this fact.

“We could conceivably be facing 30-35 overs of spin. We need to be proactive against it,” Hesson said ahead of the clash. 

The big worry for Sri Lanka is their batting. Neither the top-order nor the middle order batsmen are in good form. Mahela Jaywardene and Kumar Sangakkara never looked in good touch during the recent IPL. 

Skipper Angelo Mathewes too had to sit and and give up captaincy of his IPL side due to poor form.

It means that the New Zealand bowling attack, to be led by young paceman Mitchell McClenaghan, will bowl at a bunch of batsmen who are really short on confidence.

Tim Southee, Kyle Mills, Doug Bracewell form the pace department while Nathan McCullum will look after the spin aspect.

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