Colin Munro, Scott Kuggeleijn hit form ahead of Sri Lanka T20Is

Colin Munro often comes good in T20 cricket for New Zealand
August 29, 2019

New Zealanders 168 for 6 (Taylor 43, Munro 48, Hasaranga 2-35) beat Sri Lanka Board President's XI 135 for 9 (Kuggeleijn 4-14, Sodhi 3-43) by 33 runs

The last time we saw Colin Munro, he was struggling to keep his place in the New Zealand side, eventually elbowed out as they went into the World Cup final on the back of several hair-raising finishes. The team wanted fast starts. He couldn't provide them. Someone else took his place. Simple logic. And yet it never applies in T20 cricket because somehow the left-hander just raises his game when it's shrunk like that.

Munro produced another vintage show in Katunayake ahead of the three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka, hitting 48 off 27 balls and having to retire out so that the others could have a bit of fun. By then, he'd been responsible for nearly 70% of the New Zealanders' total and had put them comfortably ahead of the game. That luxury eventually proved a necessity because, having opted to bat, the visitors slipped from 69 for 0 to 84 for 3 as legspinner Wanindu Hasaranga gave them a reminder of the kind of problems they will face when the T20I series begins in Kandy on Sunday.

Ross Taylor was able to shore up the batting, scoring 43 brisk runs before he too retired, but there may be concern that the rest of the batsmen - notably Martin Guptill who needed 24 balls to make only 22 - had left their work only half done.

The bowling, however, was top notch. Four of the six men that the captain Tim Southee used conceded less than six runs an over, including himself. Scott Kuggeleijn did the most damage, picking up three of the first four wickets to fall, by which time the Sri Lankan Board President's XI had only made 37 runs in 8.1 overs, effectively ending the contest.

Ish Sodhi had some fun with the tail, picking up 3 for 43. There was still good news for Sri Lanka despite the loss with Nuwan Pradeep playing his first competitive game since leaving the World Cup with chicken pox. The fast bowler took the new ball and sent down two overs for 18 runs. Other notable performers for the hosts included Kasun Rajitha, who picked up 1 for 23 and Dasun Shanaka who gave a glimpse of his big-hitting ability with an 11-ball 25 that included two fours and two sixes.

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