New Zealand and Sri Lanka meet for the final time in their ODI series in Nelson on Monday in what is only really a dead rubber after the Kiwis held their nerve to win the second game and go 2-0 up in Mount Maunganui on Saturday.
Although there is nothing on this match from a competitive standpoint, matches are beginning to run out for both sides ahead of the World Cup in the summer so each game remains important for preparation for that if nothing else.
We’ve seen two very strong batting efforts from New Zealand in this series with their entire batting order delivering in at least one of the two matches, which is exactly how any team would like it. This is a perfect time for their batsmen to catch fire, not just for the significant amount of cricket coming up, but also with that World Cup on the horizon.
While their batsmen have delivered the goods their bowlers have done enough but they have been expensive at times and that might be a concern moving forward. The good thing about New Zealand at the present time is they have a real depth of resources with the ball so if someone isn’t doing it for them they have quality waiting in the wings.
I think Sri Lanka have shown some positive signs over the two matches but they need to begin to turn good moments into victories soon if they are going to be a force in the World Cup. What they are doing is showing that they can compete against the better sides and in a series of one-off matches in England they only need to come out on top in three or four and see off the weaker sides to be a threat.
To give themselves the best chance of doing that though they are going to need to find some seam bowlers who can either dry up the runs in the middle overs or come through with wickets. Although they restricted New Zealand to 50 less than in the first game it was their fielding that did it rather than their bowlers. They have the chance to try things out with the ball here.
New Zealand still have India on their shores this international summer so you would think this is an ideal chance to rest some of their bowlers. Trent Boult is an obvious candidate for a rest with Lockie Ferguson and Doug Bracewell knocking at the door. Colin de Grandhomme could come in too.
With there being nothing on the match, Sri Lanka could decide to rotate their outfit too with a trip to Australia to come for them after this tour is finished. In saying that, they would really do with a win so maybe changes will be at a minimum.
I’m not a massive one for betting on dead rubbers but I do expect the runs to keep on coming here. Sri Lanka are likely to face a weaker New Zealand bowling attack although we don’t need them to do that given that they’ve pick up 320 and 298 in the series so far. New Zealand look in great form with the bat so the run and boundaries should flow.
The boundaries line in this match is 60.5 and when you think we saw 75 and 69 on a much bigger Mount Manganui ground than this one at Nelson we should see this line covered once again. There were 69 in the last game with Sri Lanka 128-7 at one stage. I think there is the potential for plenty of big hits and solid shots here and this line should be comfortably covered.
Back Over 60.5 boundaries for a 4/10 stake at 1.83 with William Hill
Back it here: