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I Have Got a Few Years Left: Ross Taylor after Pallekele Heroics

New Zealand’s Ross Taylor had a special relation with Pallekele and continued that love affair in the first T20I against Sri Lanka on Sunday (September 1).

Cricketnext Staff |September 2, 2019, 6:31 PM IST
New Zealand's Ross Taylor speaks to the media in Nottingham. (Source: Twitter)

New Zealand’s Ross Taylor had a special relation with Pallekele and continued that love affair in the first T20I against Sri Lanka on Sunday (September 1).

Pakistan were at the receiving end in the 2011 World Cup as Taylor clouted seven sixes in his unbeaten 131 off 124 balls which led to a comfortable New Zealand victory.

Taylor wound back the clock in a shorter but similarly effective batting onslaught, smashing 48 off 29 balls to earn the man-of-the-match and a five-wicket win in the T20 series opener in Kandy.

"It's nice to know what your role is. We've got a lot of young and exciting players and I suppose they need a bit of experience at the other end to talk them through it," Taylor was quoted as saying by stuff.co.nz.

Senior Black Caps batsman Taylor has finally found his niche in the Twenty20 side. This was Taylor's fifth T20 international of 2019 as the focus shifts from 50-over cricket.

In those five innings against Sri Lanka and India, Taylor averaged 40 at a strike rate of 130, unfurling the favourite slog sweep with fast hands and brutal power.

"You're a long time retired and I've got a few years left," he said.

Colin Munro, Martin Guptill and Tim Seifert all departed cheaply and with Colin de Grandhomme pushed up to No 4 the power hitting duo were together at a tenuous 39-3.

De Grandhomme (44 off 28) helped Taylor blast 79 off 39 balls for the fourth wicket, and when de Grandhomme played across a Lasith Malinga full toss the Black Caps needed 57 off 39.

Malinga was the main threat, having moved past Afridi's record of 98 T20 international wickets, but with the slippery ball he lost some control. Hamilton mates Daryl Mitchell and Mitchell Santner stayed calm to get the team home with three balls to spare.

De Grandhomme looks worth persevering with at four, which will raise the tricky question of where Williamson fits into the T20 top order when he returns for England in November. Guptill may find his spot under threat if his lean trot continues.

"I think de Grandhomme batting four is a really good thing for us. When he gets going he's tough to stop, and Ross is turning back the clock and hitting those cow corner boundaries like he used to. More of that in the next game would be nice," left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner said.

The next game is back in Kandy, on Wednesday (September 4), where stand-in captain Tim Southee will chase his fifth victory from as many T20 internationals at the helm.

Southee was excellent with the ball, as was Santner, before Sri Lanka's batsmen took to Seth Rance late and posted a challenging 174-4. The New Zealand skipper thought they were off with the ball and missed too often.

"We were lucky a couple of old heads got together with the bat and the way Daryl finished it off was outstanding for a young guy who's only played a handful of matches. It's pleasing, although we weren't at our best it's nice to still be able to win games of cricket like that," T20 skipper Southee said.

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