New Zealand, Lanka fight battle of equals

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> New Zealand will hope to continue the trend when Daniel Vettori's men lock horns with Sri Lanka in the Compaq Cup cricket tri-series opener on Tuesday.

Updated: September 07, 2009 14:54 IST
  • Total Shares


Reinvigorated after back-to-back Twenty20 triumphs, New Zealand will hope to continue the trend when Daniel Vettori's men lock horns with Sri Lanka in the Compaq Cup cricket tri-series opener on Tuesday.

After the battering in the Test series, which the hosts won 2-0, New Zealand managed to lift their morale winning both the Twenty20 matches and the players from both sides would have little time to adjust to the 50-overs format when the tri-series gets underway.

India is the third team in the tournament and Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his men would start their campaign against the Kiwis on September 11.

The Twenty20 triumphs did a world of good to the Kiwis and Brendon McCullum, whose performance with the bat is crucial to New Zealand's prosperity in the tournament, said they would be a force to reckon with in the tri-series.

"We were disappointed with the Test matches but the way we came back (in Twenty20) was significant and gave us a lot of confidence," he said.

"The guys coming and the ones from the Tests did fantastically well. All in all, the team is shaping up pretty well at the moment and hopefully we start well in the first one-dayer," he said.

McCullum and Jesse Ryder have been in good nick and the burly left-hander in fact went on to win the Man of the Series award because of his sterling show in both the Twenty20 matches.

So confident are the Kiwis that they believe they have sorted out the enigma called Ajantha Mendis.

"He's going to be a tough proposition in the one-dayers, but the guys have played him pretty well. If we can negate his ability to tear through batting line-ups that will set us up to be a bit more aggressive later on," McCullum said.

Sri Lanka, on the other hand, is sulking after the twin defeats and captain Kumar Sangakkara has told his teammates that he was far from happy.

"Apart from that we gave it our all, I have to say they outplayed us," the Lankan captain said after the Twenty20 defeats.

"Our batting unit needs to start firing," he added, placing the onus on the inconsistent willow-wielders.

From Indian point of view, the tri-series provides Dhoni and his men an opportunity to win their first final in a multi-nation event here in 11 years.

India had last won the final of a major one-day event on Lankan soil in 1998 and then shared the rain-marred ICC Champions Trophy with the hosts in 2002.

New Zealand: Daniel Vettori (c), Shane Bond,Neil Broom, Ian Butler, Grant Elliott, Martin Guptill, Gareth Hopkins, Brendon McCullum, Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Jacob Oram, Jeetan Patel, Jesse Ryder and Ross Taylor.

Sri Lanka: Kumar Sangakkara (c), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Sanath Jayasuriya, Mahela Jayawardene, Chamara Kapugedera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Kaushal Lokuarachchi, Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Ajantha Mendis, Muttiah Muralitharan, Gihan Rupasinghe, Thilan Thushara, Isuru Udana and Mahela Udawatte.

Match starts at 2.30 pm IST.

For the latest Cricket news , Score, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and get the NDTV Cricket app for Android or iOS

Leave a comment