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New Zealand's Daryl Mitchell, who played a crucial role in the 2021 Twenty20 World Cup final, will return to action on Saturday. Image Credit: Reuters file

Sydney: Daryl Mitchell will return for New Zealand’s third Twenty20 World Cup match against Sri Lanka at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on Saturday, Black Caps paceman Tim Southee told reporters on Friday.

All-rounder Mitchell, whose 208 runs helped his team to the final in Dubai last year, missed New Zealand’s impressive 89-run victory over hosts and defending champions Australia last weekend after fracturing a finger before the tournament.

The 31-year-old might have returned against Afghanistan on Wednesday but the match was washed out and Southee said he would instead come back in, most likely for Mark Chapman, on Saturday.

Broken hand

“Daryl’s come through all the tests he needs to come through after suffering a broken hand a few weeks back,” he told reporters at the SCG.

“It’s bad luck for Mark Chapman but Daryl is such a valuable member of the side and he’s done well for us. So, yeah, now he’s fit and ready, he just slots back in.”

With only one point from the washout, New Zealand will need to be sure to avoid an upset against Sri Lanka on Saturday before taking on England and Ireland in their final Group 1 matches.

Every game is important

“We know we have to be on our toes every single game we play, it’s the nature of this tournament that you can’t really have too many slip ups,” Southee added.

“T20 cricket brings the sides closer together and we’ve seen in this tournament a number of upsets already so every game is vitally important.”

Sri Lanka lost by seven wickets to Australia in their last outing and have suffered a series of injuries but assistant coach Naveed Nawaz said they still felt they were in with a chance of reaching the semi-finals.

“The spirits are pretty high,” he said. “We’re all very well motivated and still looking forward to the rest of the tournament.”