Man of the Match: Lasith Malinga
New Zealand would look to whitewash the series by winning their last T20 match against Sri Lanka.
Our prediction is New Zealand will defeat Sri Lanka and clean-sweep the T20 series.
This is the visitors last game in Sri Lanka, and the last match of the T20 series which they have already sealed, leading 2-0. Earlier in this of the tour, New Zealand drew the test-series 1-1 by defeating the hosts by an innings and 65 runs at Colombo. Later, they defeated Sri Lanka in first two T20 matches of the ongoing series and the last game is just a formality for them before they could lift the trophy. After narrowly missing out on the World-Cup title this July, this will be the first international trophy for the Kiwis. The hosts, on the other hand, look to experiment freely, with focus on the ICC T20 World Cup next year. Post the ICC World Cup, they had a remarkable ODI series at home against Bangladesh, which they won by 3-0. Malinga is quite in favour of giving freedom to youngsters so that they can play their natural game, which is vital for the T20 format. Danushka Gunathilaka may just get a chance to play in this match.
Before the T20 series, Sri Lanka has won an ODI series against Bangladesh. It appears they are gaining the momentum with a new team and young players. Under the leadership of legendary pacer Lasith Malinga, they are slowly gearing-up for the T20 World Cup to be played next year. Apparently, Malinga’s focus was more on trying various things and giving more exposure and freedom to the youngsters. Avishka Fernando with 37 runs innings in the second T20I was promising, batting at number 3. Danushka Gunathilaka seems to be replacing injured Kusal Mendis in this game. Kusal Mendis amassed 105 runs in two innings (79 off 53 in the first and 26 of 24 in the second T20I match). In the first T20 match, they posted 174 runs batting first, thanks to Mendis, Shanaka (17 off 12) and Udana’s special knock of 15 off just 3 deliveries, that included 2 sixes. Malinga (2 for 23) and Wanindu Hasaranga (2 for 21) bowled beautifully but other bowlers went for 10 runs or more per over, which cost the game.
In the second T20I, they again batted first and put-up 161 runs on the board, powered by a crucial partnership of 68 runs in 44 balls between Niroshan Dickwella (39) and Avishka Fernando (37). Akila Dananjaya took 3 for 36, while Shehan Jayasuriya and Udana bowled economically and gave away just 34 runs in their 7 overs. However, their total proved to be short of the par score after Mitchell Santner snatched the game in just two balls he faced in the 20th over off Hasaranga.
Lasith Malinga (c), Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Perera (wk), Avishka Fernando, Niroshan Dickwella, Shehan Jayasuriya, Dasun Shanaka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Isuru Udana, Akila Dananjaya, Kasun Rajitha
Niroshan Dickwella, Akila Dananjaya, Lahiru Madhushanka, Avishka Fernando, Kusal Perera, Danushka Gunathilaka, Dasun Shanaka, Wanidu Hasaranga, Lakshan Sandakan, Isuru Udana, Lasith Malinga
This is New Zealand’s third consecutive T20 series win. Earlier, in New Zealand, they defeated Sri Lanka (1-0) and India (2-1). In the last 6 T20 matches, they lost just one game, to India. They played very good cricket to level the test series 1-1, after losing the first test to the hosts. In the first game of this T20 series, Ross Taylor led the run-chase of 175 runs by scoring 48 runs in just 29 deliveries. Taylor and C de Grandhomme (44 off 28) together added 79 runs for the fourth wicket. Southee (2 for 20) and Santner (1 for 22 runs) were outstanding with the ball.
In the second match, their bowlers did a slightly better job by limiting Sri Lanka to 161 runs. Southee again took 2 wickets for 18 runs and Seth Rance grabbed 3 for 33. New Zealand added 38 runs in first four overs, but they lost 3 wickets. C de Grandhomme (59 runs off 46) and Tom Bruce (53 off 46) together added 109 runs for the fourth wicket and it looked they would win easily, they lost 3 wickets in the interval of 7 balls and then it got really close before Santner hit a four and a six in the third and fourth balls of 19th over to seal the match and the series (2-0).
The injured Martin Guptill is ruled out of the final match while Ross Taylor is declared fit to play. Hamish Rutherford has been roped in for the final match.
Tim Southee (c), Colin Munro, Tim Seifert (wk), Colin de Grandhomme, Ross Taylor, Hamish Rutherford, Daryl Mitchell, Mitchell Santner, Scott Kuggeleijn, Seth Rance, Ish Sodhi
|C de Grandhomme||59||46||2||3||128.26|
Mitchell Santner, Ross Taylor, Daryl Mitchell, Colin Munro, Seth Rance, Tim Seifert, Colin de Grandhomme, Scott Kuggeleijn, Hamish Rutherford, TD Astle, TG Southee
The venue for this match is Pallekele International Cricket Stadium. Overall, the pitch looks very good for the batting. On this ground, out of 20 T20I matches played, 10 times the teams batting first have won while 6 times chasing team tasted the success. Two matched tied here and 2 produced no results. In the ongoing T20 series, two T20Is have been played here, and both the times New Zealand won while batting second.
The team winning the toss should go for chasing option which nowadays is best suited for the T20 format.
Against the World Cup finalist New Zealand, Sri Lanka faced difficulties in crossing the finishing line in first two T20I matches of the series. The second T20 game actually went down the wire, but Mitchell Santne’s two shots in the 20th over just took away the game and the series. Overall, New Zealand looks a balanced team while Sri Lanka is in a team-building state right now. All statistics are in favor of New Zealand, thus we predict that New Zealand will defeat Sri Lanka in this match and white-wash the series 3-0.