Sri Lanka face New Zealand at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Thursday in a game that could mark the end to the race for the top four, or at least the beginning to the end of the race. It will also have huge implications on the race for the top eight, which is where a team needs to finish to qualify for the 2025 Champions Trophy.
Sri Lanka’s campaign has been thrown haywire by the fact that they lost to Bangladesh by three wickets in a game that was laden with controversy. That was their third consecutive defeat and the fact that it came after a 302-run hammering at the hands of India meant that their net run rate has also plummeted. England jumping up to seventh spot has temporarily pushed them out of the qualification spots for the Champions Trophy as well.
New Zealand, on the other hand, are surprisingly on shaky grounds after starting off with four consecutive wins. They are fourth due to their net run rate, level on points with the two teams below them in Pakistan and Afghanistan. While a victory against Sri Lanka would put them two points clear of Pakistan, it will also give the latter an exact idea as to what they need to do when they face England on Saturday. Afghanistan, while being on eight points as well, are too far behind on net run rate to be considered a serious threat for New Zealand.
Both sides are hence looking for as comprehensive a win as possible to secure their respective positions in the two halves of the table. However, the whole thing could end up being a damp squib with the city of Bengaluru being hit by heavy showers a day before the match. Both teams will be hurt by a washout but arguably, New Zealand far more in the race for the top four than Sri Lanka in the race for the top eight. New Zealand need two points from this match or else Afghanistan or Pakistan could overtake them. Sri Lanka will move into the qualification spots for the Champions Trophy but will then need England, Bangladesh and Netherlands to all lose their matches.
Head to head in ODIs:
This used to be a tightly contested fixture until halfway through the previous decade. However, Sri Lanka have not been able to beat New Zealand in an ODI since December 2015. There have been 101 matches played between the two teams and New Zealand have won 51 of them while Sri Lanka won 41. Eight matches have gone without a result and one ended in a tie in November 1996.
Head to Head in World Cups:
New Zealand and Sri Lanka have faced each 11 teams in the World Cup. Sri Lanka lead the head to head 6-5.
Form Guide: (Latest completed ODI first)
New Zealand: LLLLW
Sri Lanka: LLLWW
Did you know?
Rachin Ravindra could surpass Sachin Tendulkar’s record for most runs at a World Cup before turning 25. His tally currently sits on 523.
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