|Scorecard:||Sri Lanka v New Zealand|
|Event:||New Zealand in Sri Lanka 2012/13|
DateLine: 10th November 2012
Sri Lanka v New Zealand
The ongoing five-match series has been adversely hit by weather preventing even a single game to see 100 overs. Nonetheless, hosts Sri Lanka and New Zealand prepare for the fourth game at Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium, Hambantota today and the Lankans take an unassailable 2-0 lead along with them having won the second and third game.
While the points table tells us a different story, New Zealand have certainly been more competitive than was initially predicted and would be hoping for some more luck ahead of this crucial face-off.
If New Zealand are defeated today, they will lose the series along with some pride as Sri Lanka is in spectacular form so the odds are certainly against the visiting team. However, if the game is reduced due to rain, and New Zealand bat second, they have a good chance of securing a victory.
Luck is something the Kiwis missed in the third match when they failed to defend 197 in 33 overs as Sri Lankaís TM Dilshan shredded New Zealandís bowling attack by hammering a staggering 102.
With Dilshan out due to injury the batting line-up will rely on the likes of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene to fire but the Lankans have the outstanding batting that can go ballistic if not countered appropriately.
Sri Lankaís bowling has struggled in the absence of the injured Ajantha Mendis. Sri Lankan bowlers will have to perform as a unit in order to give the Kiwi batsmen a run for their money. Lasith Malinga, who so far has been expensive, will have to turn the tide around in order to give the home crowd a good show. Rangana Herath was particularly disappointing in the third match and could lose his place in the side.
It would be wise for New Zealand to contain rather than aim to grab wickets straight away. Their current bowling attack is not potent enough to penetrate a strong side enough to cause chaos; this is perhaps New Zealandís biggest problem on this tour. The Kiwis best chances of winning is to rely on their capacity to restrict the opposition to a modest total.
On the other hand, this New Zealand side has a batting attack good enough to rattle any bowling attack on a given day and it is this strength that needs to be shown when they take on the Lankans in today's match. Opener Rob Nicol has also shown signs of returning to form and this game could be the time for all the touristsí top order to find some touch.
Brendon McCullum, who is returning from an injury is a big force in New Zealand and would need to carry his sideís batting. However, wicket keeper BJ Watling is also a player to look out for as he has shown he has the goods and would be lethal if he gets going. New Zealand may have suffered a number of One Day defeats in 2012 but you can usually expect Taylor's men to win one game in a series. It needs either McCullum to make a big hundred or the whole line up to support each other and we can expect either of those scenarios to be played out in this match.
With New Zealand needing a win here to have a chance of subsequently leveling the series in Mondayís fifth and final ODI, we could see a competitive match although the visitors obviously have plenty to find based on the evidence so far.
Sri Lanka: Upul Tharanga, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Angelo Mathews, Lahiru Thirimanne, Jeevan Mendis, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Rangana Herath, Lasith Malinga, Dinesh Chandimal, Akila Dananjaya Perera, Shaminda Eranga, Tharindu Kaushal.
New Zealand: Rob Nicol, Brendon McCullum, BJ Watling, Ross Taylor, James Franklin, Kane Williamson, Jacob Oram, Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Andrew Ellis, Adam Milne, Tom Latham, Ronnie Hira.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
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