Pallekele, Sep 26: The first Super Eight clash between Sri Lanka and New Zealand is scheduled to be played at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium on Thursday as both the teams are focused to win and qualify their semi-final berth in World T20.
Batting seems to worry Sri Lanka, as they lost the rain-hit final group clash against South Africa on Saturday, which saw them struggle to score runs against the deadly pace attack, as they lost 5 wickets for 46 in 7 overs.
Sri Lanka, have proved that they are good at home A big day for both the teams, as they look forward to qualify their semi-final berth
According to stats, Sri Lanka are not good chasers in T20 internationals, as they have won only 8 matches playing second, while the ratio is on the higher side when they are batting first and defending the total, as they have won 15 matches batting first.
This also suggests that Lankans cannot score heavily when they are under pressure. Given the line-up, Mahela Jayawardene, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara and others are just an innings short from striking form.
They have been getting starts, but need to convert them to big ones, which will be the only concern when they play New Zealand on Thursday.
With Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekara, Ajantha Mendis in the team, Lanka need not worry about their form, as they can definitely win matches, provided batsmen add some score on the board.
While Mendis' availability is still a concern as the spinner has not been termed fit yet, ahead of the Super Eight clash on Thursday.
Mendis, who was omitted from the playing XI for the match against South Africa, following a side strain that he picked in the match against Zimbabwe.
Lankan bowlers too looked out of sorts as they conceded too many runs as the fall of South African wickets had no effect on the scoring rate.
Overall, hosts need to focus on all the areas and put up a good show against New Zealand on Thursday.
On the other hand, New Zealand too seem to be worried as their batting has not been consistent throughout. Moreover, it sorely depends on Brendon McCullum, while others aren't playing to their potential.
Looks like the team gets motivation only when they bat first, as they tend to score heavily, while chasing seems to be a difficult task for Kiwis as well.
Moreover, fielding has been another important aspect as Kiwis could have won the match against Pakistan provided
Since the team tends to lose more wickets while chasing a big target, which puts more pressure on the batsman leading to a downfall.
Rob Nicol, James Franklin, Ross Taylor, Brendon McCullum Southee, Mills are the key players for New Zealand, while Lanka depend a lot on the opening stand and seniors, while bowling depends on Mendis, Malinga, Herath, Kulasekara.
Since both the teams are sailing in the same boat, with similar issues, it will be interesting to see how the two teams handle pressure in their first Super Eight clash at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium.
New Zealand: Ross Taylor (Captain), Martin Guptill, Rob Nicol, Brendon McCullum, Kane Williamson, BJ Watling (wicketkeeper), James Franklin, Jacob Oram, Nathan McCullum, Daniel Vettori, Kyle Mills, Doug Bracewell, Tim Southee, Ronnie Hira, Adam Milne.
Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka: Mahela Jayawardene (captain), Dinesh Chandimal, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Akila Dananjaya, Shaminda Eranga, Rangana Herath, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Ajantha Mendis, Jeewan Mendis, Dilshan Munaweera, Thisara Perera, Kumar Sangakkara, Lahiru Thirimanne.
Match starts at 3:30 PM
Another match; Australia Vs West Indies, starts at 7:30 PM