New Zealand have all but secured their entry into the semi-finals stage of the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup 2023 with a win over a struggling Sri Lanka side on Thursday at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.
New Zealand were one of the early favourites to end among the top four, however, they had faltered in the last few matches. Coming up against a side that has struggled throughout the tournament in Sri Lanka today, they ensured qualification was just a matter of time as their superior net run rate (NRR) should see them through over Pakistan and Afghanistan who are also likely to end up on 10 points in their nine group stage games.
Having won the toss, the Kiwis skipper Kane Williamson decided to field first. Sri Lanka lost opener Pathum Nissanka with just three runs on the board as fellow opener Kusal Perera looked to strive with the inning. Captain Kusal Medis continued with his poor tournament with another single-digit score. In form Sadeera Samarawickrama was also unable to stamp his authority, while Charith Asalanka also faltered.
Some notable contributions towards the end pushed the Lankan total up to 171 with New Zealand needing 172 to win. They chased that down in 23.2 overs winning the match by five wickets.
Devon Conway and Rachin Ravindra had set the Kiwis up for a comfortable win, but the Lankan bowling attack got some excitement back into the match taking some wickets in the middle. However, Glenn Phillips and Tom Latham ensured that it was nothing but a hiccup as New Zealand virtually claimed their fourth spot.
For Pakistan to qualify now, they will have to ensure that they win by 287 runs if they bat first against England in Kolkata on November 11. If they bowl first, Pakistan will need to chase down the target with 284 deliveries to spare.