The dream is over for the Kiwis
New Zealand defied the odds in the quarter-finals seeing off the well-fancied South Africans but their dreams could end when they meet a formidable looking Sri Lanka side on a spinning pitch in Columbo on Tuesday morning.
The Sri Lankans are certainly making the most of home advantage and whilst the 4/11 about them to make the final may look short it reflects the optimism punters have in them after their crushing ten wicket win over England. Almost 90% of the bets placed with William Hill have been on the Sri Lankans.
The Kiwis have lost all five of their World Cup semi-finals and will need to be at their absolute best to change that. They are priced at 11/5, the same price as when they saw off South Africa, but will need some outstanding individual performances if they're to cause a shock.
New Zealand are still seen as outsiders of the four remaining teams despite their heroics in the last round, they're 6/1, Sri Lanka 13/8.
Muralitharan is struggling with injury for Sri Lanka but they are hopeful he will be fit to play on a pitch that will suit him down to the ground. He was the top wicket taker against England and took 4/25 against New Zealand in the group stages. He's 7/2 to repeat that feat if he comes through a late fitness test. He is 16/1 to take a five wicket haul.
The opening pair of Tharanga (7/2 to top score) and Dilshan (100/30) never looked in danger during that win putting on an unbeaten partnership of 231 and the Kiwis will be hoping to dismiss these two early in their innings if they're to hold any hope. You can bet on which side will have the highest opening partnership and the 4/6 for the Sri Lanka pair looks good value.
Both made their centuries in that game and you can get 9/1 for Tharanga and 8/1 that Dilshan can repeat that feat. It's a whopping 25/1 that both players hit another 100 and 11/8 that any player hits a ton in the game.
Kiwi Tim Southee will be hoping he can get some swing early in the innings to get rid of the two in-form batsman and he is 7/2 to be the top Kiwi wicket taker. The sub-continent pitches always favour the spinners and captain Daniel Vettori will be desperate to put in a big performance. He's 11/4 to take the most wickets.
The toss could well be crucial. I expect given the confidence they have in themselves after their batting display against England that the Sri Lankans will be looking to bat second and chase down whatever the Kiwis set them. I would expect both captains to opt to field first, should they win the toss.
If you expect a close game we have a special bet that the game is decided in the final over at 6/1. The neutrals amongst us will certainly hope that bet comes in.
As well as betting on which team or players will shine you can back a wide range of markets which take into account all aspects of the match including number of wides, sixes, run outs and boundaries which keep an interest throughout the game even if the team you have backed is struggling.
It's certainly hard to see past the Sri Lankans at 4/11 and I expect them to set up an all-Asian final between themselves and either India or Pakistan on Saturday.
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