About the Match
The heavy rains in the island nation continued to affect the series as the first T20 match was abandoned due to the incessant downpour on Tuesday; leaving the two nations with only one more match to play for the T20 title here on Thursday. Sri Lanka had leveled the ODI series 1-1with New Zealand earlier on and the fate of the final T20 match of the series depends on the weather; if a full match is played, both countries will put up a tough fight and it will be interesting to see which team emerges victorious here.
Stalwarts like Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Lasith Malinga will provide the strength to the team, contributing with their sharp skills whereas all-rounders like Angelo Matthews, Thisara Perera and Senanayake will be very resourceful. The two new inclusions, Ramith Rambukwella and Seekkuge Prasanna are expected to do well as they have been in good form recently. The openers, Jayawardene and Dilshan put up a 91-run opening stand and played an important role in the final ODI match; they will try to repeat their performance with some big runs here too. The players are confident of putting up a good show provided the weather allows them to do so. Though the series started off on a shaky note for the team, the home side has the distinctive advantage of playing in favourable conditions and will be a tough side to beat.
The top order collapse in the last match of the ODI series, which then ultimately couldn’t be saved even with the heroics of Nathan McCullum and Neesham who put up a 63-run partnership, is something the team needs to worry about here. Though the batsmen performed well in the series, their poor show in the crucial 3rd match coupled by the shortening of the match due to rains, has truly affected the team morale. The players are looking forward to make a comeback and finish off the series with a win here. The Kiwis have been bowling superbly and will look forward to destroy the Lankan batting line-up, which can prove to be dangerous in the T20 format of the game. The batsmen like Tom Latham, Nathan, Neesham and Ronchi need to repeat their classy performances from their earlier matches and provide a solid foundation for the team. It needs to be seen if they are able to hold their nerves against the Lankans and come up trumps.
Both teams have a good balance of experienced and young players who are a right fit for the shorter version of the game; however the team that can strategize well and keep a cool head above its shoulders will emerge victorious. The Kiwis have displayed their skills with both bat and ball and are looking quite confident to win; however, the Lankans who have specialist resources and the home advantage are looking better placed to win this final T20 match on Thursday.
New Zealand, 1.44 @ William Hill