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Just like the test series and the first T20I, the second T20I too had plenty in store for the fans. The second T20 International went right down till the wire wherein the Kiwis eventually emerged on top. The two teams are not set to meet in the final match of the tour, which has had nothing less than firecrackers for the fans. The third match, which is to be played at the same venue of Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, promises nothing less and is expected to be a feast to watch for the fans when they meet for the one final time in the series on Friday, 6th September. The 2-0 scoreline in the series do not correctly reflect how tightly-contest the two matches have been and we expect a nail-biter of a match in the third match of the series.
Much to everyone's surprise, Sri Lanka got off to a terrific start in the tournament, but have failed to build on the momentum they gained with a win in the first match. Despite winning the toss in both the matches and having conditions favorable to them, the hosts haven't really able to play to their potential.
Their bowling let them down in the first match as they failed to defend a reasonably tall total on that surface, of 175, and they just manage to hold on to their nerves. The unfortunate collision of Kusal Mendis and Shehan Jayasuriya didn't help them either as a wicket at that stage would certainly have strengthened their case.
They both are unlikely to feature in the next match which is certainly a big blow for them. Kusal Mendis, having already scored a fifty, was in superb form for them and his absence will only put more pressure on their inexperienced batting unit. Their bowling did reasonably well in the last match and with the likes of Lasith Malinga and Akila Dananjaya available in fine form, the onus will be on their bowlers to take them across the line in the final match of the series.
Kusal Perera, Danushka Gunathilaka, Avishka Fernando, Niroshan Dickwella, Dasun Shanaka, Wanidu Hasaranga, L Madhushanka, Isuru Udana, Akila Dananjaya, Lasith Malinga, Lakshan Sandakan.
New Zealand started their Sri Lankan on a sad note as they lost the first test by a big margin. The hosts were the better team in that match, but the Black Caps have grown leaps and bounds since their first defeat. They recovered well by winning the second Test at Colombo, realizing the Deja Vu feeling, which they must have had after the first test. The graduated to not only level the series, but are also looking all set to script a whitewash in the shortest version of the game.
New Zealand have coped well with the spinning conditions in the first two matches with their experienced players playing a vital role in both the occasions. Having said that, they had the advantage of chasing in wet conditions, which certainly helped them.
While the other players have struggled to adapt to the conditions, Colin de Grandhomme has been in terrific form for them. Tom Bruce, who was one of the pillars of their victory in the last match, has sustained a knee injury and he, alongside Martin Guptill, is likely to sit out for this match. The Kiwis have already been on the receiving end, as far as injuries are concerned, and these injuries just add to their miseries.
Despite the injuries and regular shuffling of the side, they have done tremendously in the competition so far and the expected return of Ross Taylor only adds to their strength. Considering how well they've done thus far, Sri Lanka are likely to have a hard time beating them in the upcoming fixture as well.
Colin Munro, Hamish Rutherford, Tim Seifert, Ross Taylor, Colin de Grandhomme, Daryl Mitchell, Mitchell Santner, TG Southee, Seth Rance, TD Astle, Scott Kuggeleijn.
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New Zealand have continued to build on their limited-overs form as they shrugged off their heart-breaking World Cup final with a series win here. Though the contributions have not been consistent, it has been there from their top players none the less. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, haven't been able to close the games largely due to pressure and ability to handle the nerves. The absence of Kusal Mendis, who did well in the first two matches, is a big blow to them. Comparing the two teams on paper, the Kiwis are slightly ahead and with the momentum gained from the two wins in two matches, they are firm favorites to emerge on top in the upcoming fixture.
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