Rohit Sharma smashed back-to-back sixes to inflict more Super Over misery on New Zealand as India snatched a Twenty20 International series-clinching victory in a Seddon Park thriller.

The Blacks Caps looked primed to make it 2-1 with two matches to play after they were set 180 to win in Hamilton on Wednesday courtesy of Kane Williamson's highest T20I score.

New Zealand needed just three to win off five balls in the last of their 20 regulation overs after Ross Taylor hit Mohammed Shami for six, but Williamson fell for a magnificent 95 two balls later.

There was more much more drama to come, with Taylor bowled off the last ball to leave the scores level with the hosts 179-6.

Williamson and Martin Guptill posted 17 off the extra over from Jasprit Bumrah and it appeared that would be enough with Rohit ​– who earlier top scored with 65 in India's 179-5 – needing 10 off two deliveries from Tim Southee, but the opener hammered the paceman for two sixes in a pulsating finale.

The stunning victory sealed India's first T20 series win in New Zealand, with Williamson and his side left shell-shocked again six months after a Super Over loss to England in the Cricket World Cup final, with the same opponents beating by the same method in November.

Williamson must have been fearing the worst when India were 69 without loss after the powerplay, Rohit clubbing three sixes in a sixth over from Hamish Bennett (3-54) that went for 27.

Colin de Grandhomme ended an opening stand of 89 when he had the in-form KL Rahul (27) taken by Colin Munro at point and the powerful Rohit was caught by Southee at long-on attempting to launch Bennett for another six. 

Virat Kohli (38) became the expensive Bennett's third victim before Manish Pandey and Ravindra Jadeja dispatched slower balls from Southee for six in a final over that cost 18 runs.

Martin Guptill blasted the second ball of the run chase from Shardul Thakur (2-21) beyond the rope, but the fast bowler sent the opener packing for 31 after he had struck another two sixes.

Munro and Mitchell Santner missed out, but Williamson raced to a 28-ball half-century before punching Jadeja for back-to-back sixes with exquisite timing. 

The skipper also set about Bumrah after de Grandhomme fell to Thakur, but he was unable to see New Zealand home, edging behind to end a stunning 48-ball masterclass that included six sixes.

New Zealand must have felt a sense of deja vu when Taylor was cleaned up by Shami (2-32) to extend the match and Rohit proved to be the Super Over hero on this occasion as Southee was given the treatment.

India cruised to a 2-0 series lead against New Zealand with a controlled seven-wicket in the second Twenty20 at Eden Park on Sunday.

KL Rahul made a second successive half-century and Shreyas Iyer, who starred at the same venue two days earlier, contributed 44 runs as the tourists easily chased down the required 133 with 15 balls to spare.

Unlike in the series opener, the Black Caps failed to set a competitive total, with Martin Guptill (33) and Tom Seifert (33) the only batsman able to get on top of India's bowlers.

New Zealand must now win all three remaining matches to snatch an unlikely series victory from an in-form India.

Jasprit Bumrah held his place in the line-up after Friday's injury scare and was effective in restricting the home nation to 132-5 on a challenging surface in Auckland.

The seamer finished with economical figures of 1-21 from four overs as New Zealand were made to rue their decision to bat first.

Guptill fell to Shardul Thakur after building a promising 48-run opening partnership with Colin Munro (26), who followed him to the pavilion after giving Virat Kohli his second catch of the game off Shivam Dube.

The excellent Ravindra Jadeja (2-18) removed danger man Colin de Grandhomme and Black Caps captain Kane Williamson in quick succession to reduce New Zealand to 81-4 in the 13th over.

Ross Taylor (18 from 24) and wicketkeeper Seifert added 44 together to lift the total beyond 130, though it never looked like being enough to trouble India.

Rohit Sharma's departure in the opening over of the chase provided false hope to the home fans, who otherwise only had Kohli's exit for 11 - the skipper strangled down the leg side - to cheer about.

Tim Southee (20-2) claimed both key wickets but the rest of the Kiwi attack struggled to make inroads into a high-class top order.

Rahul anchored the innings with a measured 57 from 50 as he and Iyer put on 86 in 11 overs, the latter eventually well caught by Southee off Ish Sodhi (1-33) as India accelerated towards the finish line.

Shreyas Iyer's second Twenty20 International half-century fired India to a six-wicket victory over New Zealand after Jasprit Bumrah gave the tourists a brief injury scare at Eden Park.

The five-match series got under way in impressive fashion for India, despite the Black Caps - led by half-centuries from Colin Munro (59), Kane Williamson (51) and Ross Taylor (54 not out) - posting 204-4 in Auckland on Friday.

KL Rahul (56) and Virat Kohli (45) combined for a second-wicket stand of 99 - aided by some gifts in the field -  to do much of the heavy lifting, and the chase was then completed in style by an unbeaten 58 from Iyer with an over to spare.

Paceman Bumrah took 1-31, yet he looked to be in real pain after a fall during New Zealand's final over, requiring treatment and initially appearing to indicate he could not continue.

India's bowling options for the Test series already look to be restricted by an injury to Ishant Sharma, but Bumrah, who has just returned from a back problem, was able to see out the innings.

New Zealand had started with an excellent partnership of 80 between Martin Guptill (30) and Munro, before Williamson sought to lift the rate as the pace slowed.

Williamson's stand with Taylor was particularly effective - 61 off 28 - but the captain offered a simple catch to opposite number Kohli, and Bumrah then came to the fore.

Tim Seifert was swiftly dealt with, yet the final over began with a four from overthrows, before Bumrah rolled his left ankle on the edge of the wicket with the second delivery, eventually lifting himself to at least limit New Zealand to 203-5.

India's unconvincing fielding paled in comparison to their opponents' initial efforts, though.

Rohit Sharma departed for only seven but New Zealand passed up huge opportunities to halt Rahul and Kohli, failing to run out the former with two attempts and then seeing Ish Sodhi drop the captain.

But Tim Southee clung on brilliantly as Rahul belatedly departed in the 10th over, before an even better take from Guptill spelled the end of Kohli's knock.

The boundaries subsequently dried up, threatening to let New Zealand back in, before Iyer took up the mantle, blasting the winning six - his third - with the final ball of the penultimate over.

Aaron Finch was run out following a mix-up with Steve Smith as Australia lost the third ODI to India on Saturday and the captain said the pair would discuss it over a beer.

Finch rushed for a single after Smith shot to short third man but the former skipper never fully committed and Ravindra Jadeja and Shreyas Iyer combined to send the ball to Mohammed Shami, who whipped the bails off at the non-striker's end.

Although Smith went on to score a stunning 131, India limited the tourists to 286-9 in Bengaluru.

Rohit Sharma (119) and Virat Kohli (89) formed a pivotal 137-run partnership and India went on to win by seven wickets with 15 balls remaining, sealing a 2-1 series triumph.

"We haven't discussed it yet, maybe we will tonight over a beer," said Finch of the incident with Smith.

"He played an exceptional knock, he rode the momentum when he had to, controlled the innings at various parts when we'd lose a wicket.

"He really controlled that middle part which was really important to give us a chance at the back end. It was a top knock, real quality."

Australia won a five-match series in India last March 3-2 and Kohli was proud to have atoned for that defeat.

"We just want to go upwards and onwards. Getting one back given that we lost the series at home last year is really satisfying," said Kohli.

"Australia were even better than last time. There's Steve, David [Warner] and Marnus [Labuschagne]. A quality bowling attack, and really intense in the field too.

"We lost the last three in the last series and coming back and winning the last two games after losing the first one, is very satisfying."

Shikhar Dhawan had to leave the field early in Australia's innings and was sent for an X-ray on his left shoulder, which he hurt while diving in the field.

Kohli was proud of how India coped without Dhawan, who could be a doubt for their tour of New Zealand, which begins with the first of five Twenty20 games on Friday.

"We're quite experienced, Rohit and I, and we were short of Shikhar's experience," said Kohli.

"We got a good start. We expect openers of the quality of Rohit and KL [Rahul] to give us starts like that.

"When KL got out it was a tricky situation. The ball was gripping and turning a bit, and this is where experience comes in.

"We [Rohit and Kohli] spoke of stringing together a partnership and all Australia want are wickets and if we don't give them wickets we can chase seven or eight runs an over later on. We have that belief in our skill."

Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli delivered sensational performances as they led India to a seven-wicket triumph over Australia, meaning the hosts clinched the three-match ODI series 2-1 despite Steve Smith's century in Bengaluru.

Smith's 131 and 54 from Marnus Labuschagne provided the highlights of Australia's innings after Aaron Finch elected to bat first, but India restricted their opponents to 286-9.

India were hampered by the loss of Shikhar Dhawan for their reply, the opener's shoulder injury casting his participation in the upcoming tour of New Zealand into doubt.

However, once Smith's resistance ended amid a flurry of late wickets, Rohit (119) and Kohli (89) guided their side to an emphatic win, completed with 15 balls to spare.

Dhawan had to leave the field early in Australia's innings and he was duly sent for an x-ray on his left shoulder, which he hurt while diving in the field.

By that stage India already had their tails up, with Mohammed Shami (4-63) having drawn David Warner (3) into a reckless shot outside off that yielded an edge behind to KL Rahul.

India had their second wicket soon after – a mix-up between Smith and Finch resulting in the latter being run out for 19.

Smith, with support from Labuschagne, made up for his mistake, the duo both working their way to half-centuries and propelling Australia to 173-2 midway through the 32nd over.

Ravindra Jadeja claimed the breakthrough wicket, though, with Kohli taking an excellent catch low to his right to dismiss Labuschagne, and the promoted Mitchell Starc fell to the same bowler three balls later.

From looking well poised, Australia were now on the back foot and, though Alex Carey (35) offered a decent cameo, the emphasis was all on Smith.

The 30-year-old – who had surpassed 4,000 ODI runs in the 34th over – brought up his ninth one-day hundred with a crisp single, and then let rip, hitting four boundaries before succumbing to Shami.

However, Australia were unable to get up to 300 as Shami also removed Pat Cummins and Adam Zampa at the death.

Despite being shorn of the injured Dhawan, India swiftly got into their stride in reply, Rohit looking in superb touch either side of the loss of Rahul (19) to Ashton Agar in the 13th over.

Rohit, who made 209 from 158 balls against Australia in Bengaluru seven years ago, set about targeting Ashton Agar and Labuschagne – who he hit for a huge six – as captain Kohli also clicked into gear.

A single to third man off Josh Hazlewood took Rohit to another glorious hundred, his eighth against Australia, and his sixth maximum brought up the century partnership before he finally fell to Zampa.

At that point, India needed just 81 from 13.2 overs and Shreyas Iyer (44 not out) quickly settled in alongside Kohli to make victory certain, despite the captain falling to Hazlewood with 13 still required.

MS Dhoni is set to play on for Indian Premier League side Chennai Super Kings in 2021.

The pledge came from Narayanaswami Srinivasan, the former ICC chairman and BCCI president who is managing director of India Cements, the team's owners.

Dhoni has not played for India since last year's Cricket World Cup, with the 38-year-old having occasionally made himself unavailable for selection at times since the tournament.

Speculation has since been rife over Dhoni's future ahead of the Twenty20 World Cup, which takes place later this year.

However, Srinivasan has moved to end any doubt over Dhoni's place with IPL side Super Kings, insisting the wicketkeeper-batsman will be retained next season.

"People keep saying when will he... how long will he play, etc," Srinivasan told reporters when asked about Dhoni, who has been left off the BCCI's list of centrally contracted players.

Srinivasan, speaking at an Entrepreneurs' Organization event in Chennai, added: "He will play. I can assure you. He will play this year. Next year he will go the auction; he will be retained there. So there is no doubt in anybody's mind."

Dhoni previously led India to two world titles – the 2007 T20 World Cup and the 2011 World Cup – making 90 Test appearances, featuring in 350 ODIs and playing 98 T20 internationals.

India avenged their Mumbai mauling with a 36-run defeat of Australia in the second ODI in Rajkot to level the series.

The tourists had embarrassed India in the first match, cruising to a 10-wicket win with unbeaten centuries from David Warner and Aaron Finch.

India posted a more challenging total of 340-6 on Friday, featuring 96 from Shikhar Dhawan, 80 from KL Rahul and Virat Kohli's 78, to give Australia a tricky chase and they fell short on 304 all out to set up a series decider in Bengaluru on Sunday.

At 220-3 with more than 12 overs remaining, Australia were firmly in the hunt, but India's bowlers got on top and the tourists did not recover from losing Steve Smith, whose 98 was the fulcrum of their innings.

Smith played on to give Kuldeep Yadav his second victim in the 38th over after dismissing Alex Carey to bring up 100 ODI career wickets.

Warner had earlier been dismissed for just 15, flicking at a length ball from Mohammed Shami (3-77) outside off stump and caught spectacularly above his head by Manish Pandey at cover.

Finch fell for 33 and Marnus Labuschagne made 46 in his first ODI knock, but Australia's hopes of a late flurry were savaged by Shami yorking Ashton Turner and Pat Cummins with the first two deliveries of the 44th over before Navdeep Saini and Jasprit Bumrah mopped up the tail.

Dhawan and Rohit Sharma had earlier put on a run-a-ball 81 for India's first wicket, before the latter fell for 42, pegged lbw by leg-spinner Adam Zampa.

Dhawan and Kohli kept the runs flowing, with their stand of 103 eventually broken when Dhawan, four short of an 18th ODI century and looking to reach three figures with one blow, was caught at fine leg by Mitchell Starc off Kane Richardson.

India had collapsed from 134 for one to 255 all out in Mumbai, but this time it would be a different story.

The classy Kohli scored at just over a run a ball before becoming the second of three victims for Zampa (3-50), before Rahul injected late pace into the scoring by plundering his 80 from 52 balls, clearing the ropes three times before being run out in the final over.

A blow for India on an otherwise positive day came with Dhawan taking a blow to the ribs when batting that prevented him from fielding.

MS Dhoni has lost his central contract with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), sparking fresh speculation over his international future.

Former limited-overs captain Dhoni was not among the 27 India players to receive deals for the period from October 2019 to September 2020.

The wicketkeeper-batsman has not been in action since the semi-finals of the 2019 Cricket World Cup last July, though he has not officially retired from the international arena.

India coach Ravi Shastri previously said Dhoni had a chance of featuring at the T20 World Cup if he performed well in the Indian Premier League, which starts in March.

Dhoni made his international debut in an ODI against Bangladesh in 2004 and captained his country to glory at the 2007 World Twenty20, 2011 World Cup and 2013 Champions Trophy.

He featured in 90 Tests before retiring from the longest format in 2014.

Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik and Khaleel Ahmed also lost their central contracts, while Mayank Agarwal, Navdeep Saini, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Shreyas Iyer and Washington Sundar were granted deals by the BCCI.

Virat Kohli has promised to "rethink" his tactics after struggling again at number four in the batting order as part of a chastening ODI defeat at the hands of Australia.

Aaron Finch and David Warner dominated proceedings as Australia cruised to a 10-wicket victory with 12.2 overs to spare in response to India's disappointing 255 all out at Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday.

A miserable start to the three-match series saw India captain Kohli caught and bowled by Adam Zampa for 16 just after he had hit the spinner for six.

Kohli is the world's number one batsman in the 50-over format but 16 is in fact his highest score from fourth in the order as part of a dreadful seven-innings streak that dates back to January 2015.

"We've had this discussion many times in the past," Kohli, who dropped down the order after Rohit Sharma's return, said to Star Sports.

"Because of the way KL Rahul has been batting, we have tried to fit him in the batting line-up.

"Having said that, I don't think it's quite gone our way whenever I've batted number four, so we'll probably have to rethink about that one.

"All in all, it's about giving some guys opportunities and you'll never know if this works or not if you don't try. 

"It's very easy to just go with one template and just follow it non-stop. I think people need to relax and not panic with one game, I'm allowed to experiment a little bit and fail as well at times. 

"You lose games here and there, but this was one of the days where it didn't come off."

Rahul (47) put on 121 for the second wicket along with Shikhar Dhawan (74), but his dismissal proved the turning point for Australia's bowlers, as India quickly fell to 164-5.

Set 256 to win, Warner (128 not out off 112 balls) and Finch (110no from 114) enjoyed a day to remember with the highest opening stand in an ODI against India, leaving the hosts with plenty to think about before the second game in Rajkot on Friday.

"It's just one bad day at office," added Dhawan. "We played well against West Indies before. As a team we back each other, and we don't focus too much on a loss.

"They played really well. We were a bit unlucky as well, like a few top edges went here and there, they didn't go in the hand.

"When KL got out, at that time we planned to accelerate and those four wickets we lost, that's where we lost the momentum.

"From there, we were targeting 300 runs and because of loss of wickets we ended up scoring less runs on that sort of a wicket. In bowling, we could not take wickets and they outplayed us. It is the captain's choice [where he bats]."

Aaron Finch and David Warner pummelled India with imperious unbeaten centuries to seal a crushing 10-wicket victory for Australia in the first match of the ODI series at Wankhede Stadium.

India collapsed from 134-1 to 255 all out in Mumbai on Tuesday after Shikhar Dhawan (74) and KL Rahul (47) put on 121 for the second wicket.

Mitchell Starc took 3-56, while there were two wickets apiece for Pat Cummins (2-44) and Kane Richardson (2-43) in a superb performance in the field for the tourists.

The magnificent Finch (110 not out from 114 balls) and Warner (128no off 112) reached the victory target with 12.2 overs to spare, staging the highest opening stand in an ODI against India, as Marnus Labuschagne was not required to bat on debut.

Warner become the fourth fastest to 5,000 ODI runs – and the quickest Australian – in the process and has four centuries in his last eight international knocks in the 50-over format.

India, beaten by Australia in a series on home soil last year, also lost Rishabh Pant to concussion when he was struck on the helmet, Rahul taking the gloves in his absence in the first of three ODIs

Dhawan got his timing going after a slow start, reaching his 50 in the 20th over with Rahul in good touch at the other end after Rohit Sharma was removed by Starc.

Spinners Adam Zampa and Ashton Agar did a good job of keeping the run-rate down in the middle overs, though, and the left-arm tweaker drew a false shot from Rahul for a much-needed breakthrough.

Cummins came back into the attack to strike a big blow by ending Dhawan's innings in the next over and Virat Kohli (16) was caught and bowled by Zampa immediately after hitting him for six.

Shreyas Iyer also failed to hang around before Ravindra Jadeja (25) was caught behind attempting to cut Richardson, and Pant (28) departed in painful fashion, an attempted pull off Cummins hitting his helmet and resulting in a catch for Ashton Turner. 

India added only 42 runs for the last five wickets and play was stopped due to a kite flying into the stadium before Warner and Finch blew Kohli's side away.

Warner successfully reviewed when he was given out caught behind hooking in the sixth over and needed only 40 balls for a half-century, with Finch raising his bat soon after.

Both openers smashed Kuldeep Yadav over the rope and continued to pierce the field with exquisite strokes on both sides of the wicket, Warner also overturning an lbw decision when he was struck on the pad by Jadeja.

Warner leapt in the air with his trademark celebration after majestically cutting Jasprit Bumrah for four off his 88th ball before Finch swept Jadeja to the boundary for a 15th ODI before stunned India were put out of their misery.

India completed a 2-0 series victory over Sri Lanka by comfortably winning the third Twenty20 in Pune by 78 runs.

KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan each had fifties for India, whose impressive score of 201-6 never looked achievable for a Sri Lanka side that was skittled for 123 with 4.1 overs remaining.

Dhawan (52) brought up his half century with a single after a shot through extra cover but his 97-run union with Rahul was ended by Lakshan Sandakan (3-35) three balls later.

Rahul (54) fell two deliveries after making his fifty and Sandakan removed Shreyas Iyer in the same over to bring in captain Virat Kohli, who was batting down at number six.

Kohli hit a match-winning six in the second T20 and he made 26 off 17 before being run out attempting an ambitious second off Lasith Kumara, who dismissed Washington Sundar for a golden duck next ball.

India were at 164-6 with 16 balls remaining so Manish Pandey (31 not out) and Shardul Thakur cut loose, the latter bludgeoning two maximums and a four in a sensational eight-ball 22.

Jasprit Bumrah (1-5) moved clear of Yuzvendra Chahal (0-33) as India's leading T20 wicket-taker with a short ball to Danushka Gunathilaka (1) in the opening over of the chase and Sri Lanka were soon in trouble at 26-4.

Angelo Mathews (31) and Dhananjaya de Silva (57) steadied the ship with a 68-run stand for the fifth wicket, but when Sundar accounted for the former the jig was up.

Dhananjaya managed to reach fifty despite a distinct lack of support, but Navdeep Saini (3-28) removed him and Lasith Malinga to put the tourists out of their misery.

MS Dhoni will soon officially call time on his ODI career but could still feature at the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year, according to India coach Ravi Shastri.

Dhoni is a veteran of 448 internationals across the limited overs formats, and captained India to glory at the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007 and the 2011 World Cup - the latter an unforgettable triumph on home soil.

The 38-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman has not featured for India since their semi-final loss to New Zealand at last year's World Cup and he is currently on a break from the game.

Rishabh Pant has taken the gloves for India in white-ball cricket but the Dhoni era might not be over just yet.

"I have had a conversation with MS and that is between us," Shastri told News18. "He has finished his Test career, he may soon end his ODI career. So he will be left with T20, he will definitely play the IPL.

"One thing I know about Dhoni is that he will not impose himself on the team. But if he has a cracking IPL, well, then... 

"We will have to consider the person’s experience and form. They will bat in the number five or six position. If Dhoni plays well in IPL, then he does put himself in contention."

A return to Dhoni could be welcoming in some quarters, given criticism that has been levelled at Pant's glovework and his failure to convert starts into decisive contributions with the bat.

Pant averages 20.50 from 25 T20I innings, but Shastri is backing the youngster.

"How many 22-year-old wicket-keepers have made 100s? He hasn’t dropped many catches and everyone is entitled to make mistakes," he added.

"As he matures he will get better. These things don't happen overnight. There is no question that he is a match-winner.

"Talent is there, he is doing everything to cash in. He is working hard on his wicketkeeping."

Virat Kohli's maximum wrapped up a comfortable seven-wicket win for India over Sri Lanka to take a 1-0 lead in their three-match Twenty20 series.

The opening clash was wiped out by rain in Guwahati and Sri Lanka's innings on Tuesday also proved a damp squib, the loss of late wickets limiting them to a modest 142-9.

India chased that down with 15 balls to spare at Indore, Kohli confirming the triumph in style to cap an explosive knock from the skipper.

Sri Lanka's top three made credible contributions but the tourists' line-up as a whole failed to fire.

Kusal Perera's brisk 34 included all three of his side's sixes, with Avishka Fernando (22) and Danushka Gunathilaka (20) providing support at the top end of the order.

Jasprit Bumrah had opened the bowling by conceding two wides and was then hit for four, but that went against the trend that was to follow.

Sri Lanka were frustrated in their efforts to reach anything close to a par score, despite Wanindu Hasaranga sending the final three deliveries to the boundary to book-end Bumrah's inconsistent spell.

With such a modest total to chase, India could afford to be patient and it took Sri Lanka until the 10th over to end KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan's 71-run opening partnership, Hasaranga claiming the former's scalp.

Dhawan went soon after, lbw to the same bowler, but it was never likely to trouble India's bid for victory and Shreyas Iyer added a handy 34 before falling in what proved to be the final over.

Kohli put the seal on things, swiping Lahiru Kumara over the ropes to finish with 30 off 17 deliveries.

The final match of the series takes place in Pune on Friday.

Windies in-form batsman Shai Hope has labeled adaptability as a key component to his recent success and expects to successfully replicate his good form in the coming year.

The 26-year-old batsman has been the regional team’s top runs getter in the ODI format for 2019 and third overall in the world, behind the Indian duo of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma.  At year-end, the right hander plundered 1345 runs at an average of 61 with four hundreds.

Often finding himself nestled between power hitters, Hope’s unflappable nature and timely stroke play often proved crucial in whatever success the Windies team had.

“The key is knowing your role in the team and knowing how it affects your batting partners, so the key is about standing your role. I think everyone in the team is starting to understand their role and it’s making our batting performances a lot more successful and consistent,” Hope said in a recent interview.

“It’s about being adaptable. I believe that adaptability is the biggest thing in cricket, especially when you’re playing [different] formats,” he added.

Hope recently produced a strong showing against the world’s top-ranked ODI team India.  It was his unbeaten hundred in the series opener in Chennai which helped the Caribbean side take a 1-0 lead but knocks of 78 and 42 in the remaining matches failed to prevent defeats.  The young batsman insists he remains focused on improving.

“[It’s] about improvement. Obviously you want to score more runs as a batsman but the key is about gaining things, adding things to your game and improving as a cricketer.”

 

Lasith Malinga would be open to retiring from Twenty20 internationals later this year, so long as he has helped Sri Lanka reach the T20 World Cup.

Paceman Malinga has already retired from Test and one-day cricket at international level, yet he intends to lead the team at this year's World Cup, the tournament they won in 2014.

Sri Lanka must come through a four-team group in the first round - playing Ireland, Papua New Guinea and Oman - in order to reach the Super 12 stage.

Malinga is willing to step aside whenever Sri Lanka ask him to, but he wants to see his nation safely through the qualifying stage in Australia.

"I've already retired from Tests and one-dayers," he told a news conference ahead of a T20 meeting with India. "It's [about] whatever is required for Sri Lanka cricket.

"If they say it's enough for me now then I'll be really happy to retire from T20 cricket also.

"But my only target is to be able to play the qualifying [first] round at the World Cup. If I play the qualifying round and the Sri Lanka team qualify for the World Cup, after that, I wouldn't mind any time I retire."

Sunday's opening T20 will see Malinga come up against Mumbai Indians team-mate Jasprit Bumrah.

The India star is the world's top-ranked ODI bowler, but he is making his return from a back injury and Malinga suggests that his lay-off could play in Sri Lanka's favour.

"As the number one [ODI] bowler, he's got the skill and accuracy," the veteran said. "But he's coming [back] after the injury and hasn't played much cricket for five or six months.

"After the injury, most of the bowlers struggle for the first few matches. We want to make that an advantage for us."

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