ABOUT THE MATCH
After the test series ended in a 1-1 draw, Sri Lanka and New Zealand will now take on each other in the game’s shortest format. The T20 international series is set to kick-off with the first match played on September 1 at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Pallekele.
Sri Lanka drew first blood in the test series and took a 1-0 lead, beating New Zealand by six wickets in the opening match at Galle. The visitors then showed a lot of character as they bounced back with a dominating victory over the hosts in the final test to square the series.
The Kiwis declared their innings with 431 runs on the board after bowling out the Lankans for 244 to gain a 187-run lead in the first innings. New Zealand showed brilliance with the ball again and wrapped up Sri Lanka’s second-innings at just 122 runs to inflict a crushing innings-defeat on them.
Conditions should offer more assistance to the bowlers early on. So even though the side batting first at this ground has won 10 times out of 16 in T20Is, the team that wins the toss here on Sunday is more likely to bowl first.
PITCH AND CONDITIONS
There could be a delayed start as a few showers and thunderstorms have been forecast for Sunday afternoon. However, it is not expected to rain later in the evening although there should be plenty of cloud cover. Temperatures will be around 22-24 degrees Celsius while humidity will be between 84% and 91% during the match.
The pitch at Pallekele has generally been very good for batting in the 20-overs format of the game. However, there could be some moisture underneath the surface due to showers earlier in the day and that might help seam bowlers a bit more.
- Captain Kane Williamson and pace bowler Trent Boult have returned home as the duo has been rested for this upcoming three-match T20 international series.
- In Williamson’s absence, Tim Southee will be in charge of New Zealand’s 14-man squad that has three specialist spinners in Todd Astle, Ish Sodhi, and Mitchell Santner.
- The visitors will probably open their batting with Martin Guptill and Colin Munro while the team’s bowling attack will likely be led by Seth Rance and skipper Southee.
- New Zealand has blown hot and cold lately in the 20-overs format having won three and lost five of their last eight T20 internationals.
- This year, however, the Black Caps have been pretty impressive with three wins from four games.
- Their previous T20I assignment came in February against India at home.
- After winning the first of the three matches at Wellington by a whopping 80 runs, they suffered a seven-wicket loss in the second match at Auckland.
- New Zealand then secured a thrilling four-run victory in the final game at Hamilton to take the series 2-1.
- Lasith Malinga will be leading Sri Lanka’s 15-man squad for this T20I series. Thisara Perera, Dhananjaya de Silva, Suranga Lakmal and Jeffrey Vandersay, who were all part of the T20 team that toured South Africa earlier this year, have been ignored for the New Zealand T20Is.
- The Sri Lankan selectors have included Kusal Perera, Lahiru Kumara, Dasun Shanaka, Shehan Jayasuriya, Niroshan Dickwella and Kasun Rajitha in addition to all-rounder Danushka Gunathilaka who has returned to the T20 set-up.
- Sri Lanka has not had too many results going in their favor of late in the shortest format of the game.
- They have won only one of their last nine matches and are seeking their first T20I win of this year after having played four matches.
- The Lankans played their first T20 international of the year in January against New Zealand at Auckland – a one-off match which they lost by 35 runs.
- They then toured South Africa in March where they played their most recent T20 series in which they suffered a 0-2 defeat at the hands of the hosts.
PROBABLE WINNING TEAM:
New Zealand may be without Kane Williamson and Trent Boult, but we feel they are still good enough to beat the home team and start the series on a positive note.
Click here to find out the Fantasy Picks.