After being overhauled in the Test and ODI series, visitors Sri Lanka will now hope for a turnaround in the shortest format when they face New Zealand in the one-off T20I at the Eden Park in Auckland on Friday, January 11.
Both teams have played 14 completed T20I matches against each other with the honours being shared (seven wins each). While in case of four matches played in the Kiwi nation, New Zealand have managed to emerge victorious on three occasions while Sri Lanka have won just one encounter.
In their previous T20I clash at Eden Park back in January 2016, after being put in to bat first, the Asian Islanders posted a sub-par total of 142/8 on the board. However, the Kiwis overhauled the total with nine wickets land 60 balls to spare.
The Kiwis have not been able to replicate their success in the shortest format and are finding it difficult to break their losing streak. The Zealanders have are coming into this game on the back of six consecutive defeats in T20I format, but will take some from their recent performance and past record against Sri Lanka.
Ross Taylor and Henry Nicholls topped the batting chart in the ODIs with 281 and 171 runs respectively. The duo will be going into the match after having scored a ton in the ODI series. They will be expected to continue from where they left in the ODI series.
Aiden Markram and Heinrich Klaasen both scored 45 and 41 respectively in the recent T20 practice match against Cricket Australia XI. The duo would be expected to chip in with vital contributions in the middle order.
Ish Sodhi was their best bowler in the ODI series against Islanders with eight wickets to his name. He will be the go-to man for Kiwis in T20Is as well.
Meanwhile, Lockie Ferguson too impressed everyone by picking six wickets in two games and he will be expected to pick up some wickets upfront.
Skipper Tim Southee (63 T20I wickets) has taken the most wickets for his side in T20Is from the current squad and he will take responsibility to rattle the Islanders batting line-up.
Expected Playing XI
Tim Southee (C), Ish Sodhi, Lockie Ferguson, Scott Kuggeleijn, Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Glenn Phillips, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Tim Siefert and Doug Bracewell
The Islanders too are struggling in the shortest format, having won just one of their last six games and their recent performance on Kiwi tour too doesn't support their cause. But considering the opponents run in this format, one may expect it to be a tight affair.
Thisara Perera has been in top form in recent times and finished as the leading run-scorer for Sri Lanka in the ODI series with 224 runs and he is expected to pose a major threat for Kiwis in this match. While, Kushal Perera, Danushka Gunathilaka and Niroshan Dickwella are the contenders in the side who would love to rectify their performance in ODI series and get the team off to a big total in the only T20I outing.
Sri Lankans skipper Lasith Malinga was the standout performer with the ball in ODIs, picking up seven wickets in three matches and he will be their go-to man against the Kiwi batsmen. While they will also need Lakshan Sandakan, Seekkuge Prasanna and Dusmantah Chameera to come out with their best and grab few scalps early on.
Expected Playing XI
Lasith Malinga (C), Dushmantah Chameera, Niroshan Dickwella, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Dasun Shanaka, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Thisara Perera, Lakshan Sandakan and Seekkuge Prasanna.Published 10 Jan 2019, 15:16 IST