⚬ New Zealand are currently ranked third in the ODI format
⚬ Even if New Zealand win by a margin of 2-1, they’ll slip from 112 to 111 points
⚬ Only a 3-0 victory will help New Zealand retain the third spot, if not they’ll lose it to South Africa.
New Zealand has now entered the bigger picture and with the World Cup just 150 days away every team now needs to step up. The runners-up of the 2015 World Cup, New Zealand is eyeing a 3-0 clean sweep against Sri Lanka. Currently ranked third in ODIs with 112 points, New Zealand will slip to 111 points even if they win by a margin of 2-1. In that case, South Africa will take the number three spot and the Blackcaps will slip to number 4. Only a 3-0 win against Lanka in this series will lift them to 113 points and help them retain the third spot. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, will gain four points in the improbable scenario of whitewashing the opposition. Anyhow, they will still have a deficit of 10 points when compared to Bangladesh who are placed number seven currently.
The highest run-scorer in the previous World Cup, Martill Guptill who is currently ranked 14th will have his eyes set to make it back to the top 10 again. He’ll open once again with Colin Munro. Meanwhile, ranked number three Ross Taylor would want to bridge the gap between him and the leading pair of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. With Tom Latham and Colin de Grandhomme being away, wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Seifert has earned a spot and will make his ODI debut for New Zealand tomorrow.
New Zealand’s seam attack looks strong with Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Matt Henry in the frame. Fast bowler Lockie Ferguson might also find a place in the playing XI if captain Kane Williamson opts to rest one of the three regular pace options. Jimmy Neesham is the all-rounder for the series who finally got a place in the side after a long time. This might be his only chance to earn a spot during the World Cup.
With the conditions at the Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui supporting seam and with Williamson’s approach, it’s evident that the home team have a clear edge over Sri Lanka. Even though New Zealand just recently secured a straight four series wins in the Test format, the real quest for the World Cup starts now. And the series against Sri Lanka is just a trial.
New Zealand ODI Squad:
Kane Williamson (captain), Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Colin Munro, James Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Ross Taylor, Tim Seifert (wicketkeeper), Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee