NZ can be more than quietly confident

The phrase “quietly confident” captures New Zealand’s approach to almost any international assignment, and Brendon McCullum used it again ahead of their Champions Trophy opener.

On the surface, there is perhaps no reason to be so quiet about it. They have just felled the hosts, England, in a three-match series, have an opener in incredible form, and even without Daniel Vettori – who is doubtful for the match – possess an attack capable of troubling any top order.

Only they are up against an opposition that has mauled them almost without relent, in the last five years. In the last 11 completed ODI matches between the two sides, Sri Lanka have won 10. From Hamilton to Hambantota, Mumbai to Kingston, most matches haven’t even been close. New Zealand might take some solace that the only victory in that lot came in the previous Champions Trophy, on a fast Johannesburg pitch, but both captains expect spin to play a major role in the match, and in that regard, Sri Lanka hold the advantage. Read more
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