Chittagong: A semi-final spot at stake, Sri Lanka and New Zealand take on each other in a virtual knock-out match of the ICC World Twenty20 here on Monday.
Sri Lanka and New Zealand are on four points each from three games and the winner of Monday's's Super 10 match at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium will decide which side will join South Africa in the semifinals from Group 1. South Africa have finished their Super 10 engagements and have qualified for the semi-finals with six points from four matches.
Sri Lanka came into the World Twenty20 high on confidence after winning the Asia Cup and then they recorded two consecutive wins comfortably -- against South Africa and minnows the Netherlands. The win against the Netherlands was the shortest successful run chase ever in Twenty20 Internationals, having completed in just five overs after the Dutch scored just 39.
Sri Lanka, however, lost their next match against England by six wickets in a high-scoring match here with their bowlers failing to stop Alex Hales from scoring 116 from just 64 balls. The Lankans would look to return to winnings ways against New Zealand tomorrow and book a semifinal berth but they will have to come up with an improved bowling show.
All the Lankan bowlers were expensive in their loss against England and they cannot afford to do so against a New Zealand side which have the likes of captain Brendon McCullum, Ross Taylor and Corey Anderson.
New Zealand won one (against England under D/L method in a rain-shortened match) and lost one tight match (against South Africa) and then thrashed minnows the Netherlands and they would be looking to seal a semifinal spot against Sri Lanka.
Captain Brendon McCullum and Taylor have been in good touch while New Zealand also have big-hitting all-rounder Anderson who can win a match single handedly. Anderson has not played a big innings so far and the Sri Lankans would do well if they can keep him quiet.
Brendon McCullum is the only player to have scored 2000 runs in T20 Internationals, a feat he achieved during his knock of 65 against the Netherlands. He is also the only player to have scored two centuries in T20 Internationals and New Zealand's fortunes will depend a lot on him.
The Teams (From):
Sri Lanka: Lasith Malinga, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Rangana Herath, Mahela Jayawardene, Nuwan Kulasekara, Suranga Lakmal, Angelo Mathews, Ajantha Mendis, Kusal Perera, Thisara Perera, Seekkuge Prasanna, Kumar Sangakkara, Sachithra Senanayake, Lahiru Thirimanne.
New Zealand: Brendon McCullum (capt.), Corey Anderson, Trent Boult, Anton Devcich, Martin Guptill, Ronnie Hira, Mitchell McClenaghan, Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Luke Ronchi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Kane Williamson.
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