There aren’t many cricketers who are as funny as James Neesham is on Twitter. Michael Vaughan comes close, but Neesham’s sense of humour can belittle any banter. Rightly so, the netizens often trolled him for not being a part of the New Zealand team, but Neesham, maintaining his charm, remains indifferent and shields himself with sarcasm.
On the field, however, Neesham is a different person. He means business. By that I meant he can destructive, so much so that he smacked five sixes off Thisara Perera at Mount Maunganui, eventually walloping 47* off 13. Wonder who wrote his script that day that he later followed it with bowling figures of 3 for 38.
The second ODI will be played at the same venue, and the nature of the pitch isn’t going to be any different. Expect yet another high-scoring contest.
Let’s predict who is likely to shine in our fantasy team.
Note: Make your fantasy cricket team by knowing the statistics.
My XI: Niroshan Dickwella, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Perera (vc), Ross Taylor, Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson (c), Colin Munro, James Neesham, Lasith Malinga, Doug Bracewell, Ish Sodhi
Had it not been for Dickwella and Gunathilaka’s 119-run stand, Kusal Perera could not have taken Sri Lanka close to the total on his own. The trio batted so well that they plundered 221 of the team’s 326 runs. If Sri Lanka are to remain alive in the series, these three will have to emulate a similar performance.
Given Dickwella’s form of late, we will pick him as our wicketkeeper over the newcomer Tim Seifert.
We’ll draft in three batters from the New Zealand side as well: we have a destructive batter Guptill who scored 138, class-apart batter in Williamson who accumulated 76, and veteran in Taylor who added 54 runs.
We spoke about Neesham at length.
Given the pitch is a featherbed for batters, Munro will help us accumulate more points. If anything, his boundary-hitting skills will add bonus points to our kitty.
Matt Henry conceded 87 runs, the most by any bowler. To make matters worse, his only wicket was that of a tail-ender. Hence, New Zealand are likely to replace him with Doug Bracewell.
Our remaining two bowlers will be Malinga and Sodhi. Both took 2 wickets in the series opener.
New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson(c), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Tim Seifert(w), James Neesham, Matt Henry, Ish Sodhi, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Doug Bracewell
Sri Lanka: Niroshan Dickwella(w), Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal, Asela Gunaratne, Thisara Perera, Seekkuge Prasanna, Lasith Malinga(c), Lakshan Sandakan, Nuwan Pradeep, Dasun Shanaka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara, Dushmantha Chameera