New Zealand vs Sri Lanka: One-Off T20 Preview

Cricket ball and bails on field

Despite being whitewashed in the ODI series, Sri Lanka will hope to compete in their favoured format of Twenty20 cricket.

New Zealand themselves have done well in the shortest format in recent years, at one point topping the International Cricket Council rankings.

New Zealand vs Sri Lanka | Friday, 11 January | Eden Park, Auckland | 08:00 

To Win Match
New Zealand 42/100
Tie 35/1
Sri Lanka 37/20

New Zealand
Doug Bracewell has been drafted into the squad as a replacement for Jimmy Neesham, leaving the Black Caps short an all-rounder. Mitigating that loss, though, is the return of spin-bowling 'jack of all trades' Mitchell Santner after a long stint on the sidelines due to injury.

New Zealand have also rested Trent Boult, with the focus on being ready for the 2019 World Cup in six months' time.

The squad will be led by Tim Southee, as skipper Kane Williamson also takes a break for the one-off T20I in Auckland.

Fringe players Scott Kuggeleijn and Seth Rance will be afforded opportunities to impress and further their chances of additional white-ball opportunities in 2019, but spaces in the XI will be at a premium with quicks Southee, Lockie Ferguson and Bracewell also in the group.

The short straight boundaries at Eden Park make it a bit of a bowlers' nightmare, especially in the so-called 'hit and giggle' format. Expect a boatload of runs.

Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka have retained the exact same squad from their three-match ODI series, meaning they are carrying a lot of the same personnel problems into the one-off T20I. Their inability to bat through the innings may prove to be less of a problem, though, in the abbreviated version of the game.

Thisara Perera is an easy pick as the tourists' best player, not only because of his form with the bat. He is also a more than handy bowler in this format and a proven match-winner.

Niroshan Dickwella will be eager to build on a decent ODI series and put in a performance in the format that initially catapulted him to prominence. The wicketkeeper-batsman has been in decent touch at the top of the order - and historically enjoys the freedom of T20 cricket.

A lack of a very good specialist spinner is a huge problem for a team who have no excuse not to produce top-quality tweakers, even if star man Akila Dananjaya was hit with a surprising ban from bowling in late 2018.

Verdict: New Zealand 42/100
It should be a bit of a seesaw battle, but the Black Caps are the better side on paper.

Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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