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Reigning ICC World Twenty20 champion Sri Lanka needs to win one match against New Zealand to retain its number-one ranking

Sri Lanka (125) leads eighth-ranked New Zealand (108) by 17 points, which means it is expected to win the series comfortably.

Reigning ICC World Twenty20 champion Sri Lanka needs to win one match against New Zealand to retain its number-one ranking - Cricket News
Sri Lanka's cricketers celebrate with the trophy after winning the ICC World Twenty20 2014.
ICC World Twenty20 champion Sri Lanka goes head to head with host New Zealand in a two-match Twenty20 International series on Thursday, 7 January, in Mount Maunganui fully aware that it needs to either draw or win the series to retain its number-one position on the ICC T20I Team Rankings.

Sri Lanka (125) leads eighth-ranked New Zealand (108) by 17 points, which means it is expected to win the series comfortably. This, in turn, means if the series ends in a draw, the difference will reduce to 14 points, but more importantly, Sri Lanka will retain its number-one position.

In contrast, if New Zealand wins both the matches, then Sri Lanka will join the West Indies and Australia on 118 points but will be ranked behind the West Indies and Australia in third position when the points are calculated beyond the decimal point. In this scenario, New Zealand will rise to seventh position on 114 points and will reduce the gap with Sri Lanka to just four points.

The last time eighth-ranked New Zealand played Sri Lanka was in the ICC World Twenty20 in 2014, when it lost by a big margin. This year, Sri Lanka’s record in T20Is reads as one win out of four while New Zealand is marginally better with two wins out of four.

There is plenty to play for as both the sides head into the final phase of their preparations for the ICC World Twenty20 India 2016, which will take place from 8 March to 3 April. With a lot of T20I cricket to be played in the lead up to the ICC World Twenty India 2016, changes are expected in the ICC T20I Team Championship table.

To find out exactly how the forthcoming series will affect the T20 rankings table, please click here. The T20I rankings table is updated after each match.

Meanwhile, in the absence of Brendon McCullum, an in-form Kane Williamson will lead New Zealand. The 25-year-old is ranked 14th in the ICC T20I Player Rankings, and has an opportunity to break into the top 10.

Martin Guptill, who was the star of the ODI series, will start in 10th position and no doubt will have a crucial role to play for his side.

For Sri Lanka, a lot will depend on the experienced shoulders of Tillakaratne Dilshan. The 39-year-old is ranked at an impressive ninth, and will be the guiding force for the side in the absence of regular captain Lasith Malinga who has been ruled out due to injury.

Aaron Finch of Australia, India’s Virat Kohli and Alex Hales of England occupy the top three spots in the batsman rankings.

A look at the ICC T20I Bowler Rankings shows Sri Lanka bowler Sachithra Senanayake as the highest-ranked bowler from either side in number-three. Nuwan Kulasekara is the other bowler inside the top 10 in 10th spot.

For New Zealand, Mitchell McClenaghan is one to watch out for. The left-arm medium fast bowler is ranked 12th, a career-best position for him, along with Adam Milne, also at a career-high position of 41st.

Series schedule:

7 Jan – 1st T20I, Mount Maunganui

10 Jan – 2nd T20I, Auckland

ICC T20I Team Rankings (as on 6 January 2016)

Rank   Team               Points

1          Sri Lanka          125

2          West Indies       118

3          Australia           118

4          England            117

5          South Africa     115

6          Pakistan            114

7          India                 110

8          New Zealand    108

9          Afghanistan      79

10        Bangladesh       69

11        Hong Kong       66

12        Scotland           66

13        Netherlands      61

14        Zimbabwe        53

15        Ireland             42

ICC T20I PLAYER RANKINGS (as on 6 January, before the start of New Zealand-Sri Lanka series)

Batsmen (top 10)

Rank      Player                   Team     Points         Avge.        S/Rate          HS Ranking

   1          Aaron Finch          Aus         854          39.78        152       892 v Ban at Mirpur 2014

   2          Virat Kohli             Ind          845          44.17        133       897 v Eng at Edgbaston 2014

   3            Alex Hales           Eng         795          34.71        136       866 v Ind at Edgbaston 2014

   4            F du Plessis           SA        758          39.28        135       843 v Ban at Mirpur 2015

   5            B McCullum        NZ            712          35.66        136       849 v Ban at Pallekele 2012

   6            K Perera                SL         706          27.09       133        751 v SA at Chittagong 2014

   7           Chris Gayle           WI          703          35.15        143       831 v Aus at Colombo (RPS) 2012

   8           E Morgan              Eng         665          30.59        133       872 v Ind at Old Trafford 2011

   9           T Dilshan               SL           662          28.90        121       802 v NZ at Colombo (RPS) 2009

  10         M Guptill               NZ            653          32.13        123       793 v SA at Hamilton 2012

Selected Rankings:

Rank      Player                   Team     Points    Avge.     S/Rate        HS Ranking

  14       K Williamson          NZ          622*!    29.20     128         622 v SA at Centurion 2015

  38       Angelo Mathews    SL           484         25.48     121         493 v WI at Mirpur 2014

  43       Ross Taylor             NZ          455         23.68     119         538 v Pak at Hamilton 2010

  59       Thisara Perera        SL           398*      29.31     153         429 v Eng at The Oval 2014

  82       S Jayasuriya           SL           293*!    35.33     123         293 v WI at Colombo (RPS) 2015

Bowlers (top 10)

Rank        Player              Team    Points   Avge    Eco.    Highest Ranking

   1            Sunil Narine      WI        773       17.75   5.69     817 v Pak at St. Vincent 2013

   2            Samuel Badree   WI       751       14.96   5.39     855 v Pak at Mirpur 2014

   3            S.Senanayake     SL       699*     17.45   6.19     712 v Eng at The Oval 2014

   4            Lasith Malinga   SL       684!      21.02   7.27     684 v WI at Colombo (RPS) 2015

   5            R. Ashwin          Ind       681       26.96   7.24     717 v SA at Mirpur 2014

   6            Shahid Afridi     Pak      670       23.68   6.56     814 v SL at Colombo (RPS) 2009

   7            Mitchell Starc    Aus      659       19.53   6.72     702 v Pak at Dubai 2014

   8            N. McCullum    NZ        642       22.85   6.90     709 v Zim at Harare 2011

   9            Imran Tahir       SA        641*     15.77   6.45     675 v WI at Johannesburg 2015

  10           N. Kulasekara    SL        629       23.89   7.27     676 v Aus at Melbourne 2013

Selected Rankings:

Rank      Player                   Team     Points    Avge      Eco.        Highest Ranking

    12       M McClenaghan    NZ        612!      23.79      7.89         612 v SA at Centurion 2015
    19       Angelo Mathews    SL         571       26.96       6.76      645 v SA at Colombo (RPS) 2013

    41       Adam Milne         NZ         484*!    32.12      7.17          484 v SA at Centurion 2015

    48       Tim Southee         NZ         470        25.69      8.62       628 v Pak at Pallekele 2012

    57       Thisara Perera      SL          444        25.42      8.29       462 v Pak at Colombo (RPS) 2015

    80      J Neesham             NZ           372*!    22.00      7.64       372 v SA at Centurion 2015

    89       Corey Anderson   NZ         346*      38.88      8.75          407 v WI at Dominica 2014

    91       Trent Boult           NZ         338*      19.50      7.50          382 v WI at Dominica 2014

    105    T Dilshan                SL          285*      45.66      7.61       286 v Ban at Chittagong 2014


All-rounders (top five)

Rank     Player                         Team   Points      HS Ranking

   1        Shakib Al Hasan           Ban      362        408 v Pak at Mirpur 2015

   2        Shahid Afridi                Pak       330        413 v NZ at Dubai 2009

   3        Shane Watson              Aus       304       557 v SA at Colombo (RPS) 2012

   4        Mohammad Hafeez      Pak       303         441 v SL at Dubai 2013

   5        Marlon Samuels           WI        282         321 v SL at Mirpur 2014

!indicates career-highest rating
 

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