Hagley Oval, Christchurch is all set to host biggest event in the cricketing world, the first match of ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 between Sri Lanka and New Zealand on February 14. The high-octane battle is expected to go down to the wire despite the Black Caps comfortable series against the Sri Lankan’s in December.
The tournament could not have got off to a better contest than clash between Asian powerhouse Sri Lanka and hosts as well as leading title contenders New Zealand. The last two edition’s finalists Sri Lanka has been on New Zealand soil since last December but their recent form is far from satisfactory.
Sri Lanka who are accustomed to the conditions by now have that to their advantage when they seek to start the tournament on winning ways and silence the home side fans.
They went down in the Test Series, followed by One Day Internationals (ODIs) and more recently lost both their warm-up matches against South Africa and lowly ranked side Zimbabwe. But one would expect the experience of 1996 champions to put the best out as tournament begins especially their veteran players like: Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene.
As for hosts New Zealand, they are deemed as one of strongest sides and potential title contenders ahead of the tournament. They come in the tournament riding high on confidence with their recent performances. Everything seems to be favoring the Black Caps; Captain Brendon McCullum will be hoping his team continues their rich form coming into the tournament and land their first ever ICC Cricket World Cup trophy.
In the second and last match of the day it gets no better when England go up against pre-tournament favorites Australia. England are looking to start the tournament on a high and defeating Australia will surely give them much confidence to think they can claim their first ICC World Cup Trophy. Australia will be looking to claim their 5th title and will look to start positive against their rivals.
Both teams contested the Tri-Series along with India to get some competition experience ahead of the World Cup, and it is fair to say it was dominated by the Aussies.
Australia defeat England convincingly in the opening group games, chasing down 235 inside 40 overs, and also won when the two sides met again, chasing down 304 with a ball to spare.Both teams did meet in the final again and it was the same result, Australia winning by 112 runs.
The English men easily beat West Indies in their first warm-up game, before losing to Pakistan on Wednesday while, Australia comfortably beat both India and the UAE in their warm-up matches.