Sri Lanka has ended their tour of New Zealand without a win as they lost the one-off Twenty20 International in Eden Park, Auckland by 35 runs on Friday. This follows the results on the tour when they lost the two-Test series 1-0 and were blanked 3-0 in the ODI series. This loss will hurt the Sri Lankan team badly as they allowed New Zealand to recover from 55/5 after winning the toss and opting to field. Sri Lanka skipper Lasith Malinga struck in the very first over by removing Martin Guptill (1). Kasun Rajitha was next when he dismissed Tim Seifert (2). Malinga struck again when he removed the dangerous Henry Nicholls (4) and New Zealand sunk further when Rajitha dismissed Munro for 16.
Things continued to go downhill for New Zealand as Ross Taylor and Mitchell Santner struggled to get going after the powerplay overs. When Santner (13) was dismissed by chinaman Lakshan Sandakan, New Zealand were 55/5 in 10 overs and in danger of being bowled out for a below-par score. However, as he had done in the ODI series, Taylor once again stepped up and played an innings of substance. This time, he was the sheet anchor as Doug Bracewell, promoted up the order, played a stirring cameo.
The hosts capitalised on some loose bowling from Lahiru Kumara as 17 runs came off the 12th over, with Bracewell hitting his first six. Although Taylor departed in the 16th over for a solid 33, Scott Kuggeleijn stepped up and delivered the finishing touches. Bracewell targeted Thisara Perera by blasting three sixes and a four as 23 runs came in the 17th over and Kuggeleijn got into the game by hammering two more sixes off Rajitha. Kuggeleijn ended the innings in style as he hit two further sixes off Rajitha and New Zealand ended on 179/7, with 64 runs coming in the last four overs.
Sri Lanka stumble
In response, Niroshan Dickwella hit a four and six off Lockie Ferguson but the bowler had his revenge when he got rid of Sadeera Samarawickrama in the first over. Tim Southee conceded 18 runs in his first over as Sri Lanka made a fast start but Kuggeleijn and Bracewell showed his mettle this time with the ball.
In his first over, Kuggeleijn dismissed Kusal Perera for 23 while Bracewell struck first ball by sending back Dickwella for 18. However, Thisara, who was in fine form in the ODIs, continued to punish the New Zealand bowling as Sri Lanka maintained a scoring rate over 10 per over. Perera got going with an upper-cut off Bracewell and he lofted Santner into the stands at deep midwicket. Kusal Mendis’ dismissal for 17 did not slow down Perera who got a four and a six off Ish Sodhi. However, Ferguson dealt the killer blow for Sri Lanka when he cleaned up Thisara for 43. Following his dismissal, Sri Lanka lost five wickets for 26 runs as New Zealand sealed the contest in style.
Sri Lanka now head to Australia for two Tests in Brisbane and Canberra while New Zealand gear up to face Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team for five ODIs and three Twenty20 Internationals.