New Zealand who had failed to qualify for the semifinal in 2018 World Cup, have remained almost invincible after that. They have played two series and won 6 out 0f 7 matches. They defeated India and South Africa even after the humiliation in the ODI series.
Whereas Srilanka has lost all of their 9 matches after 2018 T-20 World Cup, but they can hope for the something remarkable like 2013 ICC World Cup, where they have defeated India in their last group match to qualify for the next round. Both these team has met 7 times overall and all the times the Kiwis turn out to be victorious.
Like always two seasoned campaigner Sophie Devine and Suzie Bates will take charge of the batting department. After the dismal performance in the ODI series against South Africa, Sophie Devine has proved why she is regarded as one of the greats in T-20 format. She has scored 450 runs at an average of 75 and at a strike rate of 144.
She has taken 5 balls to hit each boundary. If she plays till the end then she is capable enough to clinch the victory. Bates, on the other hand, gives stability in the innings. Down the order, Katey Martin with her ability to send the ball in the stand also gives the Kiwi management an assurance.
Amelia Kerr and Leigh Kasperek will take charge of the New Zealand spin bowling and turn out to be a handy prospect in the big grounds in Australia. With an ability to pick a wicket in every 18 balls, while conceding less than 8 runs in an over makes them a deadly combination.
Dependence on a handful of players is the main concern for New Zealand management. Apart from Devine, Bates or Martin, none of the players has lived up to the expectation in batting. Though most of the players have the strike rate above 100, which is the biggest plus point as far as batting is concerned, most of them haven’t played enough matches or ball in the middle.
Absence of Lea Tahuhu and Amy Satterthwaite is also a huge factor. Both of them are a natural leader and provides balance in the team. Seamers like Huddleston and Mair went for plenty in the series against South Africa, which can create a lot of pressure among the other bowlers.
Sri Lanka will de dependent upon their two seasoned campaigner – Chamari Athapathtu and Shashikala Siriwardene. Atapattu’s average against the big teams is more than her overall total, proving her capabilities to play well against the giant s of the games.
In the warm-up match against England, she single-handedly won the match for the Island country. she has also scored 271 runs with a strike rate just above 100, in the last year and a half. Shashikala Siriwardena will lead the Srilankan side in both bat and ball and. Her 4 wicket haul in the warm-up matches against England will work as a boost for her the side.
Sri Lanka can ask these two players to play the entire 20 overs while others can pitch in here and there, in order to reach a respectable total. Sri Lankan side will revolve around this two-player will Vice-captain Madavi and Nilakshi De Silva will look forward to assisting their two-star. Sugandhika Kumari and Udeshika Prabodhani, the two-seamers need to give early breakthrough against the big opponents so that the spinners can exploit the middle overs.
Though Srilankan side isn’t a strong side that is invincible but on their days they can be giant killers like they did in the warm-up matches. Sri Lankan side is dependent upon their two players, which give the opponents a chance to cut through them. They have scored at a slow pace in their last 9 matches while losing all of them. Their bowling department misses the dent, one need to threat the opponent.
They had picked up 26 wickets in 9 matches they have played and as they have failed to pick up wickets, they failed to prevent the opposition to put up a huge total. In absence of Inoka Ranaweera who used to be their no 1 spinner, the bowling looks more vulnerable and like batting dependent on very few players.
Katie Perkins, Lauren Down, Maddy Green, Amelia Kerr, Anna Paterson, Leigh Kasperek, Sophie Devine (C), Suzie Bates, Rachel Priest, Bernadine Bezuidenhout, Katey Martin, Hayley Jensen, Holly Huddleston, Jess Kerr, Rosemary Mair
Chamari Athapathtu (C), Harshita Madhavi, Nilakshi De Silva, Kavisha Dilhari, Ama Kanchana. Achini Kulasuriya, Hasini Perera, Sathya Sandeepani, Shashikala Siriwardene, Umesha Thimashini, Dilani Manodara, Anushka Sanjeewani, Hasima Karunaratne, Sugandhika Kumari, Udeshika Prabodhani
Match will start from 4.30 PM on February 22 according to IST.