New Zealand vs Sri Lanka 3rd T20I: Preview and Prediction
As we arrive at the business end of the series between New Zealand and Sri Lanka, we have one last chapter to be closed. After a triumph in the Test and ODI series, the shorter former lies on equilibrium at the moment.
The first T20I between the two was won by Sri Lanka in a Super Over and the home side edged over in the following encounter comprehensively. The decider will take place at Queenstown Event Center, New Zealand.
Sri Lanka was ahead in the series after a victory via Super Over in the first match of the series. They were spot-on with the bat in hand and notched up 196 runs on the back of half-centuries from Kusal Perera and Charith Asalanka.
Arriving for the chase, the Kiwis were on the back foot but somehow managed to equalize the tally with a fiery Daryl Mitchell knock of 66 runs. It went to a super over and then Mahesh Theekshana took the charge in his own hands. He bagged two wickets and restricted New Zealand to 8 runs. It was a matter of time before Sri Lanka went over the moon.
Right in the next game, New Zealand came back hard and steamrolled the visitors. The Dasun Shanaka-led unit had to bat first and suffered a few early blows. There were patchy partnerships with a good 62 runs stand between Kusal Perera and Dhananjaya de Silva sandwiched in between.
Ultimately, the pacers enforced a collapse and the Lankan side was cleaned up for 141 runs with an over still in the hands. Adam Milne was sensational, bagging a fifer. Ben Lister scalped two wickets and one each was distributed between Rachin Ravindra, Henry Shipley, and Jimmy Neesham.
The chase was more like a bed of roses for the home side. Chad Bowes gave a flying start scoring 31 runs off the 40 in the first wicket partnership. He did it in just 15 balls. It laid the foundation for a rapid run-scoring rate and Tim Seifert joined hands with him.
Tom Latham came in at No.3 and calmly hung around at one end. It was Seifert who announced his return in the series in the classical fashion stockpiling 79* off 43 balls. In the end, the Latham-captained side won by nine wickets and 32 balls to spare.
What have they done so far?
Although Sri Lanka has won just a single match in the overall series so far, the Asian champions have been valiant. There were eventful occasions in the Test series with the historic win where Kane Williamson rode his side past the finishing line with a century.
We’ve also been treated to a Super Over and that was the first time when the visitors could edge past the Kiwis. Firstly, New Zealand whitewashed the Lankan Lions in the red ball format, followed by a 2-0 triumph in the ODI series. Right after, they played two T20Is so far and now the sea-saw is balanced perfectly.
One of the most consistent batters, Pathum Nissanka has had a disappointing time in these conditions in New Zealand. Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, and Kusal Perera have been influential on certain occasions. The pace bowling department has struck wickets for them despite leaking runs while the spin duo of Wanindu Hasaranga and Mahesh Theekshana have been very economical.
On the other hand, the opening pair of New Zealand was successful only in the last match. Thankfully for them, Bowes showed his true character and Seifert found back his original form.
Interim skipper, Tom Latham has been off-color for them while Daryl Mitchell’s surge in form has been a positive thing. Meanwhile, the young bowling group has been at par with New Zealand. At times, they have really done well but the slog over the game needs more improvement.
Both teams have faced one another on 22 occasions and New Zealand leads the race with 12 wins. Their counterparts have 9 victories with one game being abandoned due to rain.
Adam Milne (New Zealand): The conditions of New Zealand will obviously suit someone like Adam Milne. He is a hit-the-deck bowler and rushed the batters with pace in the last T20I. He bagged a fifer and pushed the tourists on the back foot. In the absence of Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson, and Tim Southee, he has been doing a fantastic job in spearheading the pace group.
Mahesh Theekshana(Sri Lanka): There should be no doubt about the ability of the wily spinner. It’s not that Theekshana has scalped a lot of wickets in the past few matches for Sri Lanka. But if one observes watchfully, the finger spinner has gone for very less amount or runs in matches where runs have been belted over nine runs per over.
Sri Lanka: Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera, Dhananjaya de Silva, Charith Asalanka, Dasun Shanaka ©, Chamika Karunaratne, Wanindu Hasaranga, Kasun Rajitha, Dilshan Madhushanka, Lahiru Kumara
New Zealand: Chad Bowes, Tim Seifert, Tom Latham ©, Daryl Mitchell, Mark Chapman, Rachin Ravindra, Jimmy Neesham, Matt Henry, Adam Milne, Ish Sodhi, Ben Lister
The T20 equation has been quite interesting between both sides so far. But with conditions favouring the home side, it should be no wrong to back New Zealand gain a series victory over Sri Lanka.