New Zealand go into the tournament after a morale-boosting 2-1 one-day series win over hosts England, but Brendon McCullum’s side know Sri Lanka will throw up new challenges.
“We could conceivably be facing 30-35 overs of spin,” Black Caps coach Mike Hesson said ahead of the group ‘A’ game. “We need to be proactive against it.”
Sri Lanka’s spin attack includes four capable tweakers in Sachitra Senanayake, Jeevan Mendis, Rangana Herath and Tillakaratne Dilshan. Unorthodox slow bowler Ajantha Mendis was not picked for the tournament.
With sling-arm fast bowler Lasith Malinga and steady seamer Nuwan Kulasekara also in the ranks, Sri Lanka have their options covered for what are expected to be good batting conditions here.
Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews, leading his country for the first time in a major competition, agreed that winning the first fixture was important. “You would want to win every game you play, but in a format like this it is important to get a good start,” he said.