Chance for Windies to finish year on top
MUMBAI: Sri Lanka and New Zealand will launch what will be an interesting couple of months of T20 internationals (T20Is) when the two sides go head to head in a one-off match, at Pallekele, on Tuesday.
As many as seven T20Is, featuring most of the top-ranked sides, are confirmed to be played across the globe before the turn of the year, and, if Sri Lanka loses in Pallekele, then there can be a change at the top of the table on at least two occasions.
Sri Lanka, the ICC World Twenty20 2012 finalist, will start off as the number-one ranked side on the ICC T20I Championship table while New Zealand, which lost two ICC World Twenty20 2012 Super Eight stage matches in Super Overs, will begin in eighth position.
While a win will ensure that Sri Lanka will end the year as the number-one ranked T20I side, a defeat for Sri Lanka will give ICC World Twenty20 champion West Indies a sniff of the number-one position on the ICC Championship table for the first time since the launch of the current rankings system in October 2011.
In the scenario of Sri Lanka losing to New Zealand, Angelo Mathews' side will drop six ratings points and will join Darren Sammy's side on 121 ratings points, which means that if the West Indies beats Bangladesh on 10 December in Dhaka, then the men from the Caribbean will add the number-one ranking to their ICC World T20 title.
This may, however, turn out to be a brief stay on top of the ladder as India will leapfrog the West Indies if it defeats England in the T20Is in Pune and Mumbai on 20 and 22 December.