Sri Lanka seal dramatic Super Over T20 win against New Zealand
The match went to a tie-break decider after both teams chalked up 196 runs in a high-scoring thriller at Auckland’s Eden Park.
New Zealand only made 8-2 off a tight Super Over bowled by spinner Maheesh Theekshana before Charith Asalanka smashed a six off the second ball of Sri Lanka’s response, then sealed victory with a four.
“That was a really nervous game and at the end, it’s our day,” said Asalanka.
“I tried to hit boundaries because I back myself.”
“Momentum is most important for a team like us, a young team, and we’re hoping to do well,” he said ahead of the second T20 game in Dunedin on Wednesday before the three-game series concludes in Queenstown next Saturday.
The nail-biter in Auckland handed Sri Lanka their first win on a month-long tour of New Zealand after losing both the Test and one-day international series by the same 2-0 scoreline.
Black Caps tailender Ish Sodhi had earlier set up the Super Over finish when he tied the scores by calmly hoisting the last ball of their 50 overs for six off Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka.
It completed a run chase that always looked unlikely for the home side but came alive when Rachin Ravindra scored 26 off 13 balls to follow key knocks from Daryl Mitchell (66 off 44) and Mark Chapman (33 off 23).
It left New Zealand needing 13 to win off the final over, a task that became harder to achieve when Adam Milne fell to the first delivery bowled by Shanaka.
“To climb our way back in our innings was outstanding and I thought for ‘Ish’ to hit that six was quite dramatic but it wasn’t meant to be,” said New Zealand captain Tom Latham.
“Super Overs can go either way, but we fell on the wrong side today.“
Theekshana was a key performer for Sri Lanka with the ball, conceding 1-22 off four miserly overs, while fellow spinner Wanindu Hasaranga took 2-30 as New Zealand struggled for enough momentum through the early overs.
Left-hander Asalanka top-scored in Sri Lanka’s 196-5, striking six sixes in a rapid 67 off 41 balls.
He put on 103 for the fourth wicket with Kusal Perera, who returned from a long-term shoulder injury in style.
The experienced Perera scored a controlled 53 not out off 45 balls in what was his first match for Sri Lanka in any format since the 2021 T20 World Cup, having spent nearly 18 months out.
Kusal Mendis started the run-fest by blasting 25 off just nine deliveries, having lost opening partner Pathum Nissanka to the first ball of the match bowled by Milne.
New Zealand struggled for timing in the Super Over, losing the wickets of Jimmy Neesham and Mark Chapman, who struck a lone boundary.
© Agence France-Presse
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