Sri Lankans have started World Cup 2011 as one of the top-most title contender. New Zealand was not even considered worthy enough to reach Semifinals. The easy victory at Group Stage has further added to clarity of almost all pundits that Sri Lanka will win the semifinal.
Not surprisingly, Sri Lanka is eyeing a Kiwi-feast in their semifinal clash against New Zealand on Tuesday. They have already mauled the Kiwis at Group Stage by 112 runs. They have also defeated New Zealanders convincingly in the 2007 World Cup Semifinals. They have the best balanced team now, that appears strong enough to repeat 1996.
Eyes Set For Final Already
New Zealanders are not their challenge. They are just waiting for the semifinal match to finish, so that they can set guns on Pakistan or India for the final. The semifinal match can be that easy for Sri Lankans.
Overall in 73 ODI matches, New Zealand has won 35, 2 more than what Sri Lankans have won against them. But, most of that pro-Kiwi record can be credited to pre-1996 Sri Lanka.
Even in World Cup records, they have played 8 games, Sri Lanka has won 5,, and New Zealand has won 3. But, post 1992 World Cup, New Zealand have lost all four matches, including two consecutive semifinals against Sri Lanka.
Strong World Cup Record Since 1996
Sri Lanka is the strongest team in World Cup, after Australia. Since its first time entry into semifinal and final in 1996 and winning the tournament, it has set to play 4th semifinal. Except 1999, they have reached the semifinals everytime since 1996.
With Malinga, Muralitharan, Dilshan and Tharanga on fire, Sangakkara and Jayawardene may not need to bat much again.
New Zealand’s Semifinal Jinx
New Zealand is looking forward to break their 6 World Cup Semifinal without a final jinx. But right now, Sri Lanka look firm favorite to emerge finalist.
Silver Lining for New Zealand
Last time they played two matches in same World Cup, in 1983, both won a match each. Again in 2011 they are playing second match against each other. Since Sri Lanka have already won the first one, New Zealand would be expecting to repeat 1983 World Cup feat of winning the second one.