The year 2019 has had mercy upon New Zealand thus far. Their batsmen have been wreaking havoc and plundering runs over 300. Given they will face India in less than three weeks, this rich form would help them gain confidence. Although their bowlers leaked runs, they found a way to emerge triumphant. Now that they have sealed the series, they will look to experiment with their bowling line-up and give a chance to the benched players to shine.
On the other hand, Sri Lanka’s losing streak continues. They have now lost 35 of the 46 ODIs since 2016. Their new captain Lasith Malinga will give his all to register his maiden victory as ODI captain at Nelson.
As has been the case in the series, it will be difficult to keep a lid on runs. The pitch at Nelson will be nothing less than a Bermuda Triangle for the bowlers and hence we can’t risk including more than three bowlers in our fantasy team.
Note: Make your fantasy cricket team by knowing the statistics.
My XI: Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Danushka Gunathilaka, Martin Guptill (c), Henry Nicholls, Ross Taylor, Colin Munro, Thisara Perera, James Neesham (vc), Ish Sodhi, Lasith Malinga, Lockie Ferguson
No doubt that we’ll prefer Dickwella over the newcomer Tim Seifert as the wicketkeeper in our team. Not only has Dickwella been going all guns blazing with the bat, he has been equally effective behind the wickets.
His opening partner Gunathilaka too has been in his elements. After falling 7 runs short of his fifty, Gunathilaka scored a spectacular 71 off 73 to keep his team in the hunt. If Sri Lanka are to end the series on a high, these two will have to lay a solid foundation for the struggling middle-order batsmen.
We are short of points, and hence – no matter how badly it hurts – we will have to leave Kane Williamson out of our fantasy team, for he has 11 points, the most, against his name.
To make up for the loss, let’s draft in the highest and second-highest run-scorers in the series: Guptill and Taylor. Alongside the veterans, helping us collect more points, will be Nicholls who will look convert his starts into big innings. His technique and temperament force him ahead of others.
It is because of the inclusion of Neesham, Munro, and Perera that we could not add Williamson to the mix.
While Neesham has scored 111 runs at a strike rate of 222 and scalped 5 wickets, Munro and Perera made amends in the second ODI with scores of 87 and 140 respectively. These three all-rounders are a force to reckon with.
New Zealand are likely to rest Trent Boult for Ferguson who variations would come handy on Nelson’s flat track.
Our other two bowlers will be leg-spinner Sodhi and Malinga. Both have been, thus far, pick of the bowlers for their sides.
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