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Crunch clash looms between Sri Lanka, New Zealand today

October 29, 2022 00:00:00

New Zealand's readiness for the T20 World Cup was in no doubt when they roared to victory by 89 runs over hosts and defending champions Australia in the opening match of the second round.

Sri Lanka overcame the shock of being beaten by Namibia in their first match to nail down a place in the second round.

But the New Zealanders' momentum was halted when their match against Afghanistan was washed out. The Lankans, meanwhile, have gone backwards. They lost by seven wickets to the Aussies and have had six players removed from the equation in less than two weeks because of injuries.

So today's (Saturday's) match looms as a crunch clash. Sri Lanka are under more pressure than their opponents and will have to play better than they have done so far at the tournament to win, but New Zealand will have budgeted for both points against the Afghans and will feel the weight of one of them having slipped away.

Neutrals will be keen to watch Trent Boult and Tim Southee in action together for what may be one of the last few times. Boult was, at his request, released from his NZC contract in August to enable him to spend more time with his family and playing in T20 leagues.

That spells the beginning of the end for one of the modern game's most prominent and enduring fast bowling partnerships. Neutrals will also hope all of Sri Lanka's players make it through the game in one piece.

The match will be held at Sydney Cricket Ground at 2.00pm (BST).

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