Cricket fever is at its best
with the ICC Champions Trophy tournament reaching its peak after the
first half of the preliminary round matches.
Out of the12 first round matches, six have already been completed.
The semi finalists would be known after the next six first round matches
of the eight-nation tournament to be played from today.
Having met the hosts South Africa and England in the first two games,
Sri Lanka will take on New Zealand in their last Group ‘B’ semi league
round match to be played under lights at SuperSport Park, Centurion
When the two teams last met at a one day international during the
recent Compaq Cup Triangular tournament in Colombo, Sri Lanka beat New
Zealand by 97 runs in a flood-lit affair at Premadasa Stadium. The
defeat deprived New Zealand of a chance in the Compaq Cup final.
The Lankan win over the Kiwis was even more creditable, considering
the fact that the home team, which emerged runners up at the last
Twenty20 World Cup, were comprehensively beaten 2-0 by New Zealand in
the two-match Twenty20 series.
But the same could not be expected today as the Kiwis would be
playing under conditions familiar to them. New Zealand’s fast bowlers
could look dangerous today and the Lankans will have a tough time if
they happen to bat under lights. Sri Lanka has beaten New Zealand four
times in their last five ODI meetings with the other being a no
result.Today’s meeting between the two teams in South Africa will be the
70th ODI between the two countries. Of the 69 matches played so far, Sri
Lanka has won 31 and lost 34 with three no results and one tie.
New Zealand thrashed Sri Lanka by nine wickets in the first ever ODI
between the two countries, which incidentally was a 1979 World Cup match
in Nottingham. In reply to Sri Lanka’s 189 all out, New Zealand reached
the target for the loss of one wicket with Glen Turner (83) and Geoff
Howarth (63) sharing an unfinished second wicket partnership of 126
runs. Having lost their first five ODI meetings, Sri Lanka’s maiden ODI
victory over New Zealand – by three wickets, was registered in Derby
during the 1983 World Cup in England. Sri Lanka’s current Chairman of
Selectors was adjudged man of the match for his devastating spell of 5
Will Thilan Samaraweera be able to continue from where he left with
that speaking century? Only time would tell us by later tonight.