Two finely balanced sides lock horns in what is widely expected to be a closely fought encounter.
It would need the nerve of a gambler to predict a winner straight out. There is nothing much to choose from between the two sides, but personally I would give the Islanders a few inches more than the Kiwis, and I have my reasons for it.
Both sides were drubbed by
The Sri Lankan spinners have the knack of pushing the middle overs through very quickly and that is the time in the game where bad habits might creep in for the batsmen, as things might not go their way. It has happened many a time in the past when Murali and Sanath, with their plethora of experience, have stifled the run rate and plotted the downfall of strong batting lineups.
Both sides would be strengthened immensely by the return of their strike bowlers (Bond and Oram for NZ, Murali and Vaas for SL) and would hope the rest would have done more good than harm. The contest at least on paper promises a seat edge thriller but
Stephen Fleming and his boys would have to restrict their opponents to a sub-250 score otherwise it could well turn out to be another so near yet so far story for the Kiwis.