New Zealand and Sri Lanka are about to engage in a fierce battle.

When New Zealand thrashed hosts and defending champions Australia by 89 runs in the first game of the second round, it was clear that they were ready for the T20 World Cup. After being shocked by Namibia in their opening encounter, Sri Lanka overcame the setback to secure a spot in the second round. But when their game against Afghanistan was postponed, the New Zealanders’ momentum was halted. In the meantime, Sri Lankans have regressed. They were defeated by the Australians by seven wickets, and in less than two weeks, injuries had forced the withdrawal of six players.

Thus, Saturday’s game is expected to be crucial. However, New Zealand will have budgeted for both points against the Afghans and will feel the weight of one of them having slipped away. Sri Lanka is under greater pressure than their opponents and will need to play better than they have thus far in the tournament to win. The opportunity to see Trent Boult and Tim Southee on the field together, possibly for the last time, will be eagerly anticipated by neutrals. In August, Boult’s NZC contract was terminated at his request so that he could spend more time with his family and take part in T20 tournaments. That signals the beginning of the end for one of the most well-known and enduring fast bowling partnerships in the modern game. The hope of the neutral is that all of Sri Lanka’s players survive the match unscathed. Enough now with the wounds.

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