Sri Lanka will be doing their utmost to ensure that Muttiah Muralitharan is fit for their Cricket World Cup semi-final with India as he has already caused their demise in the tournament once already.
Muralitharan took 4-25 when Sri Lanka beat New Zealand by 112 runs in the group stages of the Cricket World Cup, but he is a doubt for the last-four clash after injuring a knee in the quarter-final victory over England.
Sri Lanka’s betting odds are 4/11 to repeat their group success over New Zealand and their chances are also aided by the fact that they have home advantage at Colombo.
Furthermore, Sri Lanka looked dominant at the R Premasasa Stadium when battering England by ten wickets in the quarter final and any repeat of this all-round display should easily be enough to see off New Zealand.
Although New Zealand are unable to match Sri Lanka man for man, they are the better fielding unit and will look to play on the fact that they are underdogs.
Heavily-fancied South Africa failed to cope with the pressure of being expected to beat New Zealand in the quarter finals and Sri Lanka may come under even greater strain in front of their own fans.
New Zealand are 9/4 to beat Sri Lanka in the Cricket World Cup odds, but they have lost on the five previous occasions that they have reached the semi-finals of the tournament.
Top Sri Lanka wicket taker
If Muralitharan is passed fit to play then he looks the best bet at 3/1 to take the most wickets for Sri Lanka against New Zealand.
There is every chance that Sri Lanka will name an unchanged team to that which beat England and therefore left-arm slow bowler Rangana Herath could have a vital role to play.
He is likely to bowl the full allocation of ten overs and may be overpriced in the Sri Lankan top wicket taker market at 7/2.
A £20 stake on Muralitharan being named man of the match against New Zealand would return £200. New customers can sign up here to take advantage of free bets totalling up to £60.