Saturday 1 June 2019

Preview - World Cup group match 3 - New Zealand vs Sri Lanka

This match is at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff. It's likely to be cool and damp, but with no rain. That's likely to play into New Zealand's hands.

New Zealand are distinct favourites - Bet365 have them at 78%, Google has them at 79%, and my model has New Zealand at 81%. However, none of those are at 100%, and the match isn't played on paper - Sri Lanka are still capable of pulling out a big performance.

Sophia Gardens is an odd shape, similar to Eden Park in Auckland, so it's a shape that New Zealand should be comfortable with. However, New Zealand has a mixed record at the ground - it was host to the match where New Zealand famously lost to Bangladesh in the Champions Trophy. In the one previous match between the two sides there, New Zealand won by 1 wicket, only just managing to win despite bowling Sri Lanka out for 138.

Teams batting first have generally not done well at Sophia Gardens unless they get a very big score. It's likely that both teams will want to chase here.

Again a score of 290 would be below par based on historical data, but ICC events sometimes have the pitches in different conditions to normal matches, so there's a chance that a lower score might still be very competitive.

As with some of the other matches, one of the more interesting things here will be the selections. What combination of players will each team go for?

Whichever way it goes - matches at Cardiff have tended to be interesting, even when the teams have seemed to be mismatched on paper before hand, so this could be the first match that's actually interesting on the field as well as just in the lead up.

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