Millennium Post

Upbeat Kiwis wary of Malinga

Upbeat Kiwis wary of Malinga
Camps with contrasting moods, New Zealand brimming with confidence and Sri Lanka searching for consistency, launch the cricket World Cup on Saturday.

New Zealand, co-hosts with Australia, have their tails up after a 4-2 domination of Sri Lanka in a recent warm up series followed by a resounding warm-up win this week over tournament heavyweights South Africa.

Sri Lanka followed their New Zealand losses with a defeat to lowly-ranked Zimbabwe, although throughout their period acclimatising to New Zealand conditions they have been without their ODI ace Lasith Malinga. Malinga has the X-factor and he will make the difference, according to Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews.

Senior New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor rates the round-arm quick “the best death bowler probably who has ever played cricket”. But despite the spectre of Malinga, who returns after six months sidelined by an ankle injury, New Zealand remain favourites to set the tournament alight with a home win and are widely regarded as potential finalists. “I don’t know if we’d be favourites, but everyone’s saying we’re a good shot. If we go in with a positive mind frame and we know we can beat any side on our day then that’s a good thing. If we go out and perform as we should we’ve got a big chance,” said wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi.

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