New Zealand v Sri Lanka - ICC World Twenty20 Group B, 17:00 GMT
Preview by Gurjeet Sapal
In the first game of the ICC World Twenty20, Sri Lanka take on New Zealand in what could be an explosive encounter in Guyana.
The Black Caps will go in to their first game with great confidence as they won both their warm-up games. They beat Ireland by 40 runs in their first game, Jesse Ryder top scoring with a sensational 63 from 30 balls, leaving him with a strike-rate of 213.33.
In their more recent victory against the dangerous West Indies, they won by seven runs in a thrilling encounter. With the bat only Ross Taylor and Jacob Oram played any innings of any substance, scoring 50 and 46 respectively.
Scott Styris shone with the ball, he kept it tight and picked up four wickets for only 18 runs from his allotted four overs and he will be hoping to take his brilliant form in to the opener today.
Sri Lanka only managed to fit in one warm-up game before today. They lost by five wickets to the ever-strong South Africa. Sri Lanka batted first and struggled to put on a competitive total.
A major disappointment for Sri Lankan fans will be the continued loss of form from Tillakaratne Dilshan. Dilshan made a first-ball duck in the warm up against the Springboks.
Chamara Kapugedera was the biggest contributor with the bat for Sri Lanka, scoring a brilliant 61 from 35 balls while veteran left-hander Sanath Jayasuriya chipped in with a patient 33 from 41 balls.
In reply it was a team effort from the South Africans, with four scores in the twenties. Keeper Mark Boucher top scored with 33 not out to wrap up the game for his side.
The two Kings XI Punjab players, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene will be key players if Sri Lanka are going to make progress through the competition. Sangakkara has played 20 T20I games, and averages a very healthy 33.64. He is a great leader for his team and enjoys leading from the front in all forms of the game. Although Jayawardene is not seen a big hitter he is immensely experienced in Twenty20 cricket. This will be his 100th Twenty20 game, and he is vital in holding the Sri Lankan innings together.
For the Black Caps, opening batsman and wicket-keeper Brendan McCullum will be vital to their cause. He has played 117 T20 games in his career and has an overall strike rate of over 130. He averages a phenomenal 36.55 in T20Is. Shane Bond showed his importance with the ball in their warm-up game against the West Indies, when he picked up two crucial wickets for only 15 runs from his four overs. After an injury-hampered couple of years, Bond will be keen to establish himself as the spearhead of the New Zealand bowling line up once again.
In their last two Twenty20 encounters Sri Lanka have been victorious on both occasions, winning by seven wickets in 2007/08 and 48 runs in 2009. Captain Daniel Vettori and his men have a great opportunity to start to level the score today at the Providence Stadium,Guyana.
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