Ferrer v Murray, in cricket | PunterPolls Predictions
New Zealand are the David Ferrer of cricket. They are the good, friendly triers. They try to make up for lesser talent compared to the big boys with honest effort. Of course, plain honest effort does not get you the big titles. But more often than not, it gets you towards the closing stages of the big tournaments: the quarter-finals, the semi-finals, the extremely occasional final. Once there, they are widely expected to make way for the Nadals or the Australias. Both have no qualms about that; they know reaching where they do using what they posses, in relation to what the big boys have, is no mean achievement.
On Sunday, Ferrer, at age 31, will play his maiden Grand Slam final in Paris in a career that has seen about ten Slam campaigns fail at the quarter-final and semi-final hurdles. Across the Channel, New Zealand - admittedly with slightly more experience of making big-tournament finals, courtesy the Champions Trophy - will begin their campaign in the tournament that has given them their lone ICC trophy till date.
Very rarely do you not count a New Zealand side as one of the underdogs, but a team that has beaten South Africa and England on their home soils in one-day series recently has to be treated with some respect. The Champions Trophy might just be to New Zealand's liking. The crunched format means they don't have to sustain their run of form for too long.
And unlike in Ferrer's case, their opponent on Sunday will not be that impenetrable returning wall that goes by the name of Rafael Nadal. It is a side whose lot might be compared with that of Andy Murray before he finally, to Britain's relief, won a Grand Slam.
All the quality of Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Lasith Malinga has not been able to deliver a world title for Sri Lanka in over a decade. More than being told by the outside world that they have it in them, they know they are too good a side to have finished on the wrong end of four successive final appearances in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2012. In the last one, at the World Twenty20 final at home, they had West Indies 32 for 2 after ten overs and still blew it. Age was on Murray's side; it is not on the side of these four Sri Lankan greats. On Sunday, they will begin one of their last attempts to not go down in history as one of the best collections of men to not have won a world title.
New Zealand is a team who can fight against the best team in the world but they have very obvious problem of playing spinners. Cardiff wicket is more or less flat as we have seen in the first match between India and South Africa. Should be a high scoring encounter (275+) .
By this time Sri Lanka have won the toss and elected to bat first. If New Zealand have to bat first they need to stop Sri Lanka under 275 otherwise its going to be very difficult for New Zealand to chase.
So to keep in mind the Sri Lanka is batting first and have descent bowling attached, we would like to go with Sri Lanka in this match.
RESULT ICC Champions Trophy 2013 - 4th Match, Group A: New Zealand v Sri Lanka, 9 June
Thank you for polling.
Have you seen Today's Match Predictions by our experts?