Cricket One Day International 25 March 2023
New Zealand vs Sri Lanka - Match Preview
Taking momentum from their recent 2-0 Test series win against the same opponents, New Zealand will face Sri Lanka in the first game of a three-match ODI series in Auckland. The hosts have an outstanding recent record against the islanders, having won eleven of the last thirteen completed H2H ODI matches, but they have not faced each other since the 2019 World Cup, when the Blackcaps romped to a ten-wicket win.
Although they have been demonstrably disappointing in the World Test Championship, the Kiwis have been nothing short of remarkable in the ODI Super League, having lost only five of their 21 matches (W14, NR2) in this cycle. The sole blemish on their record remains a 3-0 loss in Australia, where the Blackcaps squandered strong positions in each match. Most recently, they completed an impressive 2-1 away win in Pakistan.
Owing to nine of their first-choice players departing for the IPL ahead of this series, New Zealand has gone for a more experimental squad in this series, sending unsold youngster Finn Allen (who impressed in the West Indies last year) back to the top of the order in addition to picking new faces with the ball in hand such as Ben Lister and Henry Shipley. They have also selected spin allrounder Rachin Ravindra, who in addition to a handful of Tests, has represented the Blackcaps at the T20I level.
On the other hand, the Sri Lankans desperately require the Super League points on offer and have thus gone for a more experienced side. On the assumption that South Africa are able to win their two remaining ODIs against the Netherlands in the coming fortnight, Sri Lanka will need to win all three ODIs for automatic World Cup qualification. They will be again skippered by Dasun Shanaka, who led them to a T20 Asia Cup triumph in 2022. The touring side has a miserable record in this edition of the Super League, sitting above only Ireland, Zimbabwe and the Netherlands on the standings courtesy of winning just one of their 14 away ODIs since the last World Cup.
Many of the key names from their hard-fought Test series will make another appearance and will likely be well acclimated to conditions, particularly the pace bowlers such as Kasun Rajitha and Lahiru Kumara. RCB rising star and spin all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga may play a key role, while top-order batsman Pathum Nissanka returns to the side after missing out on the Test series. Veteran Angelo Mathews looks set to play his second ODI in three years after their heavy reliance on bowling all-rounders backfired against India (0-3) in January.
📋 Key battle: Matt Henry has three ’Player of the Match awards against Sri Lanka in the eight full ODIs he has played against them and has 2/31 from 36 balls against key veteran Angelo Mathews. The Sri Lankan all-rounder does have a decent record in New Zealand with an average of 36.57 from 12 matches but has not yet passed the three-figure mark against them in coloured clothing.
⚡ Stat attack: Five of the top ten first innings scores in Auckland ODIs led to either a tie or a loss.
- The average first innings score across the last ten ODIs in Auckland was 255, climbing to 272 for the four teams that won batting first.
- Daryl Mitchell has a top score of just 36 from his last ten ODI innings.
- Pathum Nissanka has passed 30 in three of his last four ODI knocks, with an average of 65 in that period.
- Finn Allen has cleared 20 in just two of his last five ODI innings, with three single-digit scores.
- New Zealand has struck the most sixes in three of the last four H2H matches.
- Sri Lanka has claimed the highest opening partnership in four of the last six completed H2Hs.
Zimbabwe vs Netherlands - Match Preview
The discontinuation of the ICC World Cup Super League beyond 2023 has robbed the cricketing world of what would have been a cut-throat relegation battle between Zimbabwe and the Netherlands that is heading into a deciding third ODI on Saturday morning local time in Harare. Nonetheless, the desperation amongst both teams to avoid finishing last in the standings has been on show throughout two thrilling matches that have both come down to the 100th over of the game with no indication of which way the result is heading.
This time it was the hosts who denied their Dutch adversaries a miraculous last-gasp run chase when Tendai Chatara conceded 17 runs from the final over defending 18. It was somewhat “normal service resumed” at the Harare Sports Club as the spinners took control after a surprisingly quick and bouncy pitch for the first ODI. Dutch leg-spinner Shariz Ahmad and gentle office Colin Ackermann were beneficiaries of seven of the ten Zimbabwean wickets to fall before Sikandar Raza and Wessly Madhevere combined for six of their own, the latter with a hat-trick to take the Netherlands from 213/3 to 213/6.
Madhevere claimed the Player of the Match award with that decisive over that followed 43 runs at the top of the order that saw he and veteran captain Craig Ervine get through the ten-over powerplay unscathed. No stranger to crafting his own heroics with bat or ball in hand, Zimbabwe star Sikandar Raza picked off two key wickets in the 49th over for the price of four runs, including Netherlands captain Scott Edwards when he was on 36 at a strike rate in the high 120s, to make amends for his second-ball duck in the morning.
Like their hosts, the Netherlands saw some different players rise to the occasion this time around, which depending on one’s attitude can point either to a lack of consistency or a wealth of squad depth. Fred Klaasen went wicketless after collecting three in the first ODI, Teja Nidamanuru followed up his century with a golden duck as part of Madhevere’s hat-trick, whilst Max O’Dowd and Tom Cooper made amends for their first-game failures with half-centuries each to get their side into a position of needing 76 to win from the last ten overs with eight wickets in hand.
A partly cloudy day on Saturday should encourage a healthy crowd through the gates for what will either be Zimbabwe’s second ODI series win from 13 attempts, or a second consecutive H2H series win for the Dutch after a 2-0 result at home in 2019. Having lost 15 consecutive ODIs prior to this series, the visitors have surprised many by coming this far against a full-strength Zimbabwean side that in 2022 had defeated Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Australia.
📋 Key battle: Zimbabwe will be hoping they have unearthed a gem in wicketkeeper Clive Madande, who joined Sikandar Raza, Craig Ervine and Sean Williams as one of four Zimbabwean men to record back-to-back ODI fifties since 2020. He has so far scored 22 runs from 29 balls bowled by Shariz Ahmad, who will be riding high after his maiden five-wicket haul in international cricket. Shariz has been kept wicketless in just two of the 12 internationals in which he bowled more than one over.
⚡ Stat attack: Zimbabwe have been bowled out in six of their last seven completed ODIs in Harare.
- The Netherlands has posted the most match sixes in both games of this series.
- Vikramjit Singh has been dismissed for fewer than 15 runs in seven of his last eight innings for the Netherlands, encompassing all formats and including tour games.
- Similarly, Gary Ballance failed to reach 15 in eight of his last ten ODI innings for Zimbabwe or England.
- Paul van Meekeren has dismissed Ballance twice from eight balls bowled for four runs conceded.
- Similarly, Shariz Ahmad has taken Brad Evans’ wicket twice for one run from nine deliveries.
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