A Fresh start in colored clothes for both teams!
Our prediction is New Zealand to win!
It is time to shift gears from Test format to the T20 internationals. With the T20 world cup to commence in a year, teams are planning to build a settled line up before the mega event. Both teams are relatively low-ranked, with New Zealand at No. 6 and the Lankans at No. 8 respectively in the ICC ranking for T20. In the recently concluded test series, Kiwis managed to come back from their first test defeat and level the series 1-1 and they have managed to achieve this feat a second time in a row in the island nation. But we are moving from whites to the colored clothing and New Zealand start as strong favorites in this 3 match T20 series.
Both teams pose a completely different set of players from the previous week and it is strange to believe that two fast bowlers are captaining the T20 teams. Southee is going to experience his first stint as New Zealand skipper, whereas Malinga is appointed as the Lankans skipper.
New Zealand had a good outing in their practice game against the Sri Lanka Board President 11, winning the match by a margin of 33 runs. Kiwis won the toss and opted to bat first. Their openers Guptill and Munro had a fiery start scoring 60 runs in the power play. While Guptill was sedated with his 24-ball 22, Munro raced to a 27-ball 48 before he decided to give other batters a chance. While the newcomers Seifert and Bruce struggled for runs, Ross Taylor was in his zone as he sent 4 delivers over the rope for his 24-ball 41. Skipper Southee ended the NZ innings with three boundaries and NZ completed the innings with 168 runs. Bowling started well with Skipper tying one end and Kuggelejin picked wickets at another end. Scott Kuggelejin bowled brilliantly and ended with figures of 4/19 from his four overs in the warm-up. Ish Sodhi was taken for plenty but he had 3 numbers in the wicket’s column. Santner, as usual, continued to maintain his economy rate and picked up a wicket.
From the Lankans perspective, Shanaka and Jayasuriya who will get a nod to the playing 11 spent some quality time out in the middle.
Lasith Malinga will hope his captaincy is not taken away after this series and he must stay till the T20 world cup, leading this side for a good result. They have two brutal lefties at the top, Dickwella and Kusal Perera. They will look to take the kiwi pacers apart. A lot of talks revolve around Fernando after his world cup performance and Bangladesh series. Shanaka has long levers and scored an 11-ball 25 in the warm-ups. Lankans will look to pressurize the Kiwis with their spin attack. They have varieties in the form of Dananjaya, Sandakan, and Jayasuriya.
Lasith Malinga: Write this man out at your own peril. He showed in his final ODI against Bangladesh that he has a lot of cricket left in him still. His Yorkers are pin-point accurate still and he picked 3 wickets with his go-to delivery in his last outing for Lankans.
Niroshan Dickwella: He scored a couple of half-centuries in the Test series and will look to give his team some solid start in the powerplay.
Niroshan Dickwella, Fernando, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Shehan Jayasuriya, Dasun Shanaka, Isuru Udana, Akila Dananjaya, Lakshan Sandakan, Lahiru Kumara, Lasith Malinga
Tim Southee gets this brief captaincy period as Williamson has made himself unavailable for this T20 fixtures. They will also miss the services of their premium fast bowler Trent Boult. But they have plenty of T20 batting experience with Guptill and Munro playing most of the T20 franchise leagues. Their middle order looks weak but with Ross Taylor looking good to finish things at the end, they have little things to worry. Their spin combo of Sodhi and Santer would love to use these conditions which favor them.
Ross Taylor: He is the best player of the spin in their line-up. Sri Lanka would show their spin force and Taylor should come to the rescue. He had a decent start to the test with a 86 in the first innings but fell cheaply in successive innings.
Colin de Grandhomme: What a turnaround he brought to New Zealand in that second test match, he attacked the spinners from the word go and helped his team to push for an incredible win on the final day. He scored 83 off 77, already in T20 mode.
Martin Guptill, ColinMunro, Tim Seifert (Wk), Ross Taylor, Tom Bruce, Daryl Mitchell, Colin de Grandhomme, Santner, Kuggeleijn, Southee, Ish Sodhi
There is always a chance of rain in the island nation during these months. There will be some offer for the spinners, but the outfield will be quick to help the batsman.
With the rain around the corner, teams will look to chase the DL targets rather than batting first.
The recent record of Sri Lanka tells a story, they must put some consistent performance to beat the Kiwis. It will be a close encounter between these two teams, but the Kiwis will have their nose ahead with T20 experience. The plot is clear for the New Zealand team, bat the spinners well and take the trophy with them.
We expect New Zeland to win!