New Zealand will bowl first after captain Kane Williamson won the toss ahead of their clash with Sri Lanka in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup at Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Thursday.
Sri Lanka made a very dismal start as they were struggling at 52/3 in 6 overs, with Pathum Nissanka (2), Kusal Mendis (6) and Sadeera Samarawickrama (1), back to the pavillion. Trent Boult has taken 2 wickets and Tim Southee one.
Batting at the crease are Kusal Perera on 39 and Charith Asalanka on 2, respectively.
New Zealand made one change to the team that lost to Pakistan with Ish Sodhi making way for Lockie Ferguson. Sri Lanka also made one change as Chamika Karunaratne replaced Kasun Rajitha.
The stakes could barely be higher for New Zealand as they take on Sri Lanka needing a victory to significantly boost their hopes of securing a place in the knockout stages in the tournament.
New Zealand almost had one foot in the semifinals when starting their campaign with four consecutive triumphs, but have since lost as many on the trot to now be equal with Pakistan and Afghanistan on 8 points as each side has one group stage match left to play.
Kane Williamson’s side enters the encounter with Sri Lanka sitting in the critical fourth spot due to holding an advantage of a superior net run rate compared to both of the other semi-final hopefuls.
But as the first of the trio to wrap up their group stage matches, the Black Caps will want to lift their net rate rate as high as possible and ideally out of reach of the chasers which will each start their remaining match knowing what they need to do to snatch fourth spot.
New Zealand can still hold out hope of progressing even if they lose to Sri Lanka, or if conditions force a no result to come into play, but will then be relying on both Pakistan and Afghanistan to end the group stage efforts without another win.
Sri Lanka also have plenty to play for despite sitting in ninth place in the Cricket World Cup standings and falling well short of semi-finals contention.
The 1996 champions will be focused on clinching a victory over New Zealand to perhaps give them a top-eight finish that would lock in a spot at the ICC Champions Trophy in 2025.
New Zealand squad: Devon Conway, Rachin Ravindra, Kane Williamson (C), Daryl Mitchell, Mark Chapman, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Tom Latham, Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult
Sri Lanka squad: Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis (C), Sadeera Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Chamika Karunaratne, Maheesh Theekshana, Dushmantha Chameera, Dilshan Madushanka.