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ICC World Twenty20 2012 hosts Sri Lanka will begin its preparation for the upcoming global event that begins on 18 September when it takes on Pakistan later this week in a two-match Twenty20 International series in Hambantota. The two teams will be keen to get some good match practice ahead of the tournament which runs from 18 September to 7 October in Colombo, Pallekele and Hambantota later this year.
Sri Lanka will need to win the series, which starts on Friday (1 June), 2-0 if it is to move up from third place in the Reliance ICC T20 Championship table.
Mahela Jayawardena's side has the opportunity to rise to second in the table, and usurp South Africa which currently occupies second place, if the 2-0 scenario occurs. Sri Lanka's ratings points would rise to 124 while Pakistan's would drop to 107 and put the latter in seventh place just above India when the points are calculated to within the decimal point.
If Pakistan, the ICC World Twenty20 2009 champions, beat Sri Lanka 2-0 in the series, then newly appointed Twenty20 captain Mohammad Hafeez would see his side move up to fourth, one ratings point behind New Zealand.
Should Sri Lanka lose the series 2-0, it would see the ICC World Twenty20 2009 runners up drop to sixth in the Championship table, just below Australia when the points are calculated to within the decimal point.
Should the both matches be tied, neither side will move up or down the table while if one match is tied and Sri Lanka win the other match, Pakistan will drop to sixth in the table after losing two ratings points. If the scenario is reversed and Pakistan win one match, while the other is tied, this visitors will remain fifth, while hosts Sri Lanka will drop to fourth in the table.
Meanwhile, in the ICC Player Rankings for T20 batsmen there is plenty of opportunity for movement from the players on both sides. Sri Lanka captain Jayawardena is the highest ranked batsman involved in the series, currently fifth, while compatriots Tillakaratne Dilshan (sixth) and Kumar Sangakkara (eighth) are not far behind the diminutive batsman.
Further down the table, Pakistan's Umar Akmal (15th) and all-rounders Shahid Afridi (24th) and Hafeez (27th) have a chance to rise up the rankings table which is currently topped by England's Kevin Pietersen.
The ICC Player Rankings for T20 bowlers is currently topped by England's Graeme Swann. Sri Lanka's Ajantha Mendis is currently in second, but with the spinner not involved in the series it gives Pakistan's Saeed Ajmal, currently third on the list, the perfect opportunity to overtake the Sri Lanka bowler.
Pakistan's bowlers dominate the top ten of the table, with Saeed (third), Afridi (fifth) and Hafeez (seventh) all vying for an elevated position. The highest ranked Sri Lankans involved in the series are Nuwan Kulasekara (26th) and Angelo Mathews (36th) and both will want to ensure the wickets tumble not only to improve their rankings but also to ensure they are fully prepared for the ICC World Twenty20 Sri Lanka 2012.
Finally, in the ICC Player Rankings for T20 all-rounders the table is topped by Australia's Shane Watson with 438 ratings points but Pakistan's Afridi is not far behind him with 413 points while Pakistan captain Hafeez is in fourth and could leapfrog Australia's David Hussey who currently occupies third position.
Sri Lanka's Dilshan is the highest ranked all-rounder for the hosts in fifth while Angelo Mathews occupies ninth place and the duo need strong performances in this series to push for a place in the top four.
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