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|Colin de Grandhomme||3.0||0||31||0||10.33|
|Colin de Grandhomme||44||28||4||2||157.14|
After a grueling test series, Sri Lanka and New Zealand are set to face each other off in the limited-overs version of the game starting with T20s. The first of the three-match T20I series is to be played on 1st September at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, Kandy. This match will be the first time we'll see the Kiwis back in colored clothing after their heart-breaking tie in the World Cup finale. Sri Lanka, contrary to how they've done in the longest version of the game in recent times, haven't been in best of touches in the two shorter versions of the game. Having said that, they've done pretty well at home over the years and beating them will not be an easy task, even for the World Cup runners-up.
There hasn't been a lot of time since the Cricket World Cup 2019 was concluded. Also, there's a lot in common between the Sri Lankan T20 side and the ODI side and analyzing them on the basis of performance in any of their recent matches would make perfect sense.
Lasith Malinga announced retirement from the ODI cricket right after the World Cup, but his presence in the shortest version of the game should be a big boost for the hosts. There are plenty of new names in their batting lineup as compared to the ones who played the test series. Also, the lack of experience is well and truly apparent in their batting department.
With not many of those having experience of playing too many matches, the onus will be on the likes of Niroshan Dickwell, Kusal Perera, and Kusal Mendis to deal most of the damage at the top of the order. Even though Avishka Fernando is quite new to the international scene, he has done particularly well in the ODIs and will be looking to carry his form to the shortest version of the game as well.
A lot unlike their batting, their bowling looks in pretty safe hands. Led by Lasith Malinga, they have good firepower available in both the spin as well as the pace departments. Akila Dananjaya is likely to be included in the playing eleven after missing out in the second test. The likes of Isuru Udana and Dasun Shanaka have done pretty well in their previous match, and their all-around skills lend balance to the Sri Lankan lineup.
In the ICC World Cup, the Islanders were being regarded as one of the least favorites to win the title, but they eventually ended up doing a lot better than that. Their win over England put the hosts in a spot of bother, which was also one of the highlights of the tournament. In that tournament as well, it was their bowling which always punched above their weight for them as their batting after taking them to a strong position, more often than not, collapsed only to dismiss the advantage.
All in all, Sri Lanka have a decent side, at least on paper. They have a little inexperienced batting order which could be a problem in crunch situations, but the fact that they are playing at home should provide them some cushion. With a fantastic bowling attack suited ideally for the shortest version of the game, there is no reason why the Islanders cannot actually emerge on top against the Kiwis.
Kusal Perera, Avishka Fernando, Kusal Mendis , Niroshan Dickwella, Dasun Shanaka, Shehan Jayasuriya, Akila Dananjaya, Isuru Udana, Wanidu Hasaranga, Lasith Malinga, Kasun Rajitha.
In the recent years, New Zealand have been a force to deal with in the tests and the ODIs, but they have been ordinary at best, to say the least, in the shortest version of the game. Their ICC rankings in the three versions of the game are strong evidence of this fact. In the longest version of the game, they occupy the second position at the ladder, and in the ODIs, they are at the third, but in the T20Is, they are at the sixth spot, just one place higher than Afghanistan.
Their lower ranking in T20Is, however, doesn't imply that they are not equipped to play the shortest version of the game. In fact, they have one of the world's best T20I batsman in Colin Munro, currently ranked number two in ICC rankings, who could turn the game around in a matter of minutes. Also, they have a terrific skipper in Kane Williamson, who has done superbly in Indian Premier League, both as a captain and as a batsman. However, he will not be the part of the T20I series, and Tim Southee will be leading the Kiwis.
The Kiwis would be pleased by the way they performed in the only practice game, which was against Sri Lanka Board President's XI. After being out of sorts for most of the season in the two other formats of the game, Munro finally found form in the version of the game he loves the most. Munro produced a scintillating knock of 48, coming in just 27 deliveries, which proved to be vital for the Kiwis. After his wicket, they fell from 69 for 0 to 84 for three before Ross Taylor came to their rescue. Taylor chipped in with a quick-fire 43.
While the Kiwis would be happy with the way the tour game went, they certainly have a few problems at their hands. Martin Guptill's problems in international cricket do not seem to end as he managed to score just 22, that too at a pedestrian pace.
Their bowling, however, was what it is known to be like. Scott Kuggeleijn was the pick of their bowlers and damaged Sri Lanka's batting backbone by picking up three quick wickets. Four out of the six bowlers that bowled for the Black Caps conceded runs at an economy rate of less than six runs an over, including skipper Tim Southee.
All in all, New Zealand are a pretty good side on paper, but the absence of Kane Williamson could be decisive in spinner friendly conditions. The likes of Ross Taylor, Colin Munro, and Martin Guptill will have a significant role to play for the Kiwis to do well with the bat, and if they can do that, it could be yet another easy win for the visitors.
Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Seth Rance, Ross Taylor, Colin de Grandhomme, Daryl Mitchell, Tim Seifert, Mitchell Santner, Scott Kuggeleijn, TG Southee, IS Sodhi.
Check out the Dream11 fantasy team for the 1st T20I match between Sri Lanka and New Zealand to be played at Pallekele. The Dream11 lineup is based on the probable playing elevens of the two teams. Please check the updated version right after the toss.
It isn't often that teams play International T20 cricket often nowadays. The contest between these two sides earlier this year was after a long gap of three years. In the last five matches, New Zealand have won three, while Sri Lanka have won two. In the previous three games, however, the Islanders have failed to win any of their matches with all of those matches being one-sided.
While New Zealand are undoubtedly a more experienced side, Sri Lanka's advantage of playing at home evens things out. Having said that, the Kiwis have already spent quite a lot of time here in Sri Lanka, so getting acquainted with the conditions should no longer be a problem. In addition to that, they are coming off a win wherein their batsmen handled Sri Lankan spinners with remarkable ease, which should be a huge confidence booster for the Black Caps. Considering those reasons, we think that New Zealand, despite the absence of Kane Williamson, have a better balanced and a more equipped team to emerg
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