T20 warm-up at Katunayake
By Amindha de Alwis
New Zealand recorded a convincing 33-run win in their T20 warm-up fixture against the Sri Lanka Board President’s XI worked off at the FTZ Grounds in Katunayake yesterday.
Right-arm fast bowler Scott Kuggeleijn was the star, taking four important wickets for just 19 runs to break the back of the home side’s chase of 169.
The Board President’s XI never looked like hauling down the visitors’ total and ended their 20 overs on 135 for nine.
New Zealand openers, Martin Guptill and Colin Munro started the day with a 70-run opening stand that put Ashan Priyanjan’s side firmly on the back foot.
Munro in particular looked in fine touch as he raced to 48 off 27 balls before being retired out.
His departure allowed spinners Shehan Jayasuriya and Wanindu Hasaranga to pull the home side back into the game with three quick wickets in the space of five overs.
However, experienced campaigner Ross Taylor took charge of the situation thereafter, striking 41 runs in 23 balls inclusive of four towering sixes; one of which was hit out of the ground and resulted in a lost ball.
His efforts coupled with some quick late-order runs by Mitchell Santner and Tim Southee helped the Kiwis put up a very competitive 168 for seven at the end of their 20 overs.
The Sri Lanka Board President’s XI’s response got off to a decent start with Danushka Gunathilaka smacking a few early boundaries.
But the innings was derailed with the introduction of Scott Kuggeleijn who removed both openers and Captain Priyanjan in his first seven balls.
Kuggeleijn rushed the batsmen with his pace and was difficult to negotiate as they attempted to keep up with the run-rate.
The home side sank further to 37 for four when Angelo Perera was caught at sweeper-cover off Mitchell Santner.
Shehan Jayasuriya and Bhanuka Rajapaksa attempted to steady the side with a 42-run partnership but New Zealand leg-spinner Ish Sodhi initiated another collapse that put the visitors well and truly on top.
Dasun Shanaka entertained the crowd with a quick-fire 25 off 11 deliveries but the result was a foregone conclusion by then.