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Lanka look for turnaround in final tour match

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AUCKLAND, Thursday: Having won the Test series and swept the one-day internationals 3-0, New Zealand will look to finish a high by winning the one-off Twenty20 International against Sri Lanka as well at Eden Park, Auckland on Friday. New Zealand notched up three consecutive scores in excess of 300 in the ODI series, burying Sri Lanka under a pile of runs they couldn't recover from, despite a heroic effort from Thisara Perera.

Now into the shortest format of the game, the array of power-hitters on either side can make it another high-scoring affair. However, the hosts will have to deal with the injury of Jimmy Neesham, one of the stars of the ODI series, as well as the absence of Kane Williamson, their regular captain, who has been rested.

Yet, they still have the likes of Martin Guptill, Colin Munro and Ross Taylor – all of whom were among the runs in the ODIs – as well as Tim Southee, the stand-in captain, Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi as seasoned T20 players.

The inclusion of Scott Kuggeleijn, the 27-year-old batting all-rounder who is as yet uncapped in the format, means that there could be at least one debutant playing the match. Kuggeleijn has played two ODIs for New Zealand, both against Ireland in 2017.

Wicket-keeper batsman Tim Seifert, Seth Rance, Doug Bracewell, Glenn Phillips, Henry Nicholls and Lockie Ferguson complete the squad.

For Sri Lanka, Lasith Malinga's leadership hasn't seen the results but the veteran will look for a turnaround with this match. He has the resources to do so with the likes of Kusal Perera, Niroshan Dickwella, Dhananjaya de Silva and Thisara Perera capable of using the long handle.

Seekkuge Prasanna and Lakshan Sandakan give the visitors spin-bowling options to choose from and Nuwaan Pradeep, Dushmanth Chameera and Lahiru Kumara will assist Malinga in the fast-bowling department.

Both the Pereras as well as Danushka Gunathilaka were among the runs in the ODI series. However Gunathilaka has been ruled out of tomorrow’s game with a back strain.

The small boundaries at Eden Park can make six-hitting easy but New Zealand don't have very good recent memories of the venue, having lost the last T20I they played here, against Australia.

(Daily News)

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