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Rain has final say in one off T20 between Sri Lanka and New Zealand

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angelo_mathew1Though New Zealand's Pallekele voodoo continued, heavy showers came to their rescue as the only T20 international between Sri Lanka and New Zealand was abandoned after just 16 overs. Inserted to bat first, the Kiwi innings was a non-starter until Tim Southee (21*) clubbed a few lusty blows with a combination of power and cheek to save some face for the touring party on a dreary evening marred by rain interruptions. The Lankan bowlers, sharing the spoils maintained tight lines and lengths to restrict New Zealand to 74-7 after the match was reduced to 14 overs per side. Much to the relief of Ross Taylor and his men, the heavens opened up again to hand them a reprieve. New Zealand had lost all their three Super Eights fixtures at the suburb of Pallekele in the World T20 including two in 'Super Overs'.

Following a 45 minute delay due to heavy rain, Sri Lanka's newly appointed full time T20 skipper, Angelo Mathews won the toss and unsurprisingly elected to bowl first on a pitch that had received very little sunshine over the past few days. The rather long list of absentees from this encounter included Mahela Jayawardene, Lasith Malinga, Rangana Herath and Martin Guptill, a clear indication that both sides were inclined towards blooding youngsters. Aside from the aforementioned big names, Ajantha Mendis and Daniel Vettori missed out because of injury. Guptill had opted to sit out of the limited overs leg to help young Tom Latham find his feet in the international arena.

Dinesh Chandimal and Shaminda Eranga, who were relegated to the sidelines during the World T20 Championship, were back for the hosts.

The Sri Lankan seamers, essaying an efficient exploitation of a lively deck, sliced through the New Zealand top order, leaving them tottering at 18-4 in 6.5 overs. The captain-vice captain duo of Angelo Mathews and Nuwan Kulasekara, in particular appeared unplayable. The tricky nature of the pitch was evident from Brendon McCullum's painful stay (1 from 9 balls) at the crease. Slender hopes for a Kiwi recovery was flushed down the drain with Thisara Perera having the dangerous Ross Taylor caught behind for 4. The Kiwi batting sheet read a sorry 24-5 when rain returned to halt play.

Further loss of precious time, 70 minutes to be precise, truncated the game to 14 overs a side affair. However, the roar of the Lankan lions only  grew louder as Akila Dananjaya bested BJ Watling(8) in his first over. Andrew Ellis(16) briefly threatened to attack before his effort was nipped in the bud by the mystery spinner with Lahiru Thirimanne completing a razor-sharp catch. Tim Southee(21*), beheading Shaminda Eranga, cracked four fours in the penultimate over(13th) to take the visitors to 74-7.

In pursuit of a revised target of 72 as per the Duckworth-Lewis method, Sri Lanka were placed at 6-0 in 2 overs before another strong spell of rain intervened, this time forcing the match officials to call off the match.

After a false start, the action now shifts to the 5 match ODI series that kicks off with the first ODI at the same venue on November 1st, Thursday. Considering the advent of monsoon in the island nation, weather will be a matter of concern through out New Zealand's month-long tour of Sri Lanka.


Sri Lanka: T Dilshan, D Munaweera, K Sangakkara(wk), J Mendis, A Mathews(c), D Chamdimal, L Thirimanne, T Perera, N Kulasekara, S Eranga, A Dananjaya

New Zealand: R Nicol, T Latham, B McCullum(wk), R Taylor(c), J Franklin, J Oram, R Hira, A Ellis, BJ Watling, T Southee, K Mills.

Mini Scorecard:

New Zealand: 74-7 (14 overs, 5.28 rpo)
T Southee 21*(10) A Danajaya 2-12
A Ellis 16(10) N Kulasekara 2-12

Sri Lanka: 6-0 (2 overs, 3 rpo)
D Munaweera 4*(4)
T Dilshan 2*(8)

Match abandoned

File Photograph Copyright: ICC World T20