Sri Lanka v New Zealand 1st T20 Tips, Predictions and Preview - Hosts to win series opener

Sri Lanka and New Zealand switch formats and begin a three-match T20I series with the first of these be played in Pallekele on Sunday.

A miraculous turnaround in the second Test in Colombo saw New Zealand claw their way back into the series. In the end, the final score of 1-1 was an apt reflection of how the matches were played.

New Zealand will be happy that they are not playing ODIs – still recuperating from that morale-shattering loss in the World Cup final. As for the hosts, the need to press reboot and change their fortunes is very much the need of the hour.

Sri Lanka


Not long ago, the Lankans owned the T20 format with consistent results on the global stage. However, over the last 18 months, they have seen their fortunes plummet with a 4-16 record. Tellingly, since the 2014 T20 World Cup, Sri Lanka have won just two series and saw their ranking drop to eighth.

However, with the wily veteran Lasith Malinga returning to the helm, Sri Lanka have high hopes of bucking the trend. Exciting players like Avishka Fernando, Dasun Shanaka, Kusal Perera, Niroshan Dickwella and Akila Dananjaya make this a very formidable T20 outfit.

New Zealand


Be it any format, there is nothing not to like about the Kiwis. After their Test exploits, the side warmed up for the T20 with a comfortable 33-run win over Board Presidents XI. Ross Taylor and Colin Munro chipped in with the bat, while Ish Sodhi and Scott Kuggeleijn impressed with the ball.

With Martin Guptill, Colin Munro and Tim Seifert at the top of the order, the Kiwis have an aggressive unit at their disposal. Stand-in captain Tim Southee is spoilt for choice as a number of T20 specialists make up the Kiwi squad. 

Match Up


Both sides have a number of T20 specialists and are loaded with aggressive batsmen. The last match at this venue saw Australia score the second-highest T20I score of 263 for 3. Sri Lanka will hope that their spinners led by Akila come to the fore, although the nature of T20 format doesn’t come to the aid of the bowlers. Expect this match to be an entertaining high scorer, with a lot of sixes flying around.

History & Statistics


  • Sri Lanka have won eight of their ten T20Is at this venue (W8, L2).
  • Sri Lanka have never lost at this venue while batting first in five matches.
  • Sri Lanka have won only one of its five T20I H2Hs at home (W1, L2, T1, NR1).
  • Sri Lanka have lost nine of their last 12 home T20Is.
  • The average first innings score at this venue is 169, although the average over last two matches is 239.
  • New Zealand have lost seven of their last ten T20Is.
  • New Zealand have lost seven of their last eight T20Is away from home, including the last five.

Key Players


Avishka Fernando rose to prominence in the ICC World Cup and his crisp hitting (despite poor footwork) makes him an interesting prospect for the Lions.
Scott Kuggeleijn has pace to burn and has shown it with a spell of 4 for 19 in the practice match. His performance could be crucial for the visitors to start on a high.

Tips



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Sri Lanka v New Zealand 1st T20 Tips, Predictions and Preview - Hosts to win series opener

Sri Lanka and New Zealand switch formats and begin a three-match T20I series with the first of these be played in Pallekele on Sunday.

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