Sri Lanka beat New Zealand in a Super Over in a cracker of a game that set the stage for the beginning of the Super Eight phase of the World T20 tournament.
At the end of 20 overs, both sides were tied on 174.
Batting first in the Super Over, Sri Lanka, which failed to hit a boundary and lost the wicket of Mahela Jayawardene, managed 13 thanks to Tim Southee who conceded three wides. In reply, New Zealand was restricted to just eight with the much-maligned Lasith Malinga conceding a miserly four runs.
Earlier, after losing the toss, Sri Lanka dropped top-scorer Rob Nicol on 6 before the opener went on to make a fine half-century. A few decent partnerships at the top of the order took New Zealand to its highest score against Sri Lanka in a T20 game. It was Rob Nicol’s day (58, 40b, 3x4, 4x6) as he put on 57 for the opening wicket with Martin Guptill (who is one of three batsmen to make a fifth consecutive score of 30 plus), 42 with Brendon McCullum for the second wicket and 38 with Ross Taylor for the third.
Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor soon perished trying to quicken the pace of scoring, and the late middle-order lacked application. After Taylor departed, the scorecard of the remaining batsmen read 6, 3, 8 (not out) and 4.
New Zealand captain Ross Taylor paid the price when he threw the ball to off-spinner Nathan McCullum at the start of the Sri Lankan inningsr. McCullum’s first over cost 17, and gave the Lankan openers Jayawardene and Dilshan the momentum. The sequence from the first five overs read: 17, 3, 11, 12 and 19. Sri Lanka posted the fastest 50 of the tournament (in 4.1 overs) and the highest Power Play score (68).
With Dilshan in roaring form, the host was breezing through. An unfortunate run-out cut short Dilshan’s stay at the crease, but at 161 for 4, almost everyone expected Sri Lanka to sail through. It had never managed to chase a target at home in six previous matches, and came within one run of victory.
Akila Dananjaya had a dream debut as Sri Lanka’s youngest to play T20, with the crucial wickets of Nicol and Guptill.
New Zealand: R. Nicol c Thirimanne b Dananjaya 58 (40b, 3x4, 4x6), M. Guptill c Perera b Dananjaya 38 (30b, 6x4), B. McCullum c Perera b A. Mendis 25 (16b, 2x6), R. Taylor b Kulasekara 23 (15b, 2x4), J. Oram c Dilshan b Kulasekara 6 (6b, 1x4), N. McCullum b Malinga 3 (4b), J. Franklin (not out) 8 (5b, 1x4), K. Williamson (run out) 4 (4b); Extras (lb-4, w-5): 9; Total (for seven wkts. in 20 overs): 174.
Fall of wickets: 1-57 (Guptill), 2-99 (B. McCullum), 3-137 (Nicol), 4-154 (Taylor), 5-159 (Oram), 6-164 (N. McCullum), 7-174 (Williamson).
Sri Lanka bowling: Kulasekara 4-0-33-2, Mathews 2-0-14-0, Malinga 4-0-30-1, A. Mendis 4-0-48-1, Dananjaya 4-0-32-2, J. Mendis 2-0-13-0.
Sri Lanka: M. Jayawardene c Vettori b Oram 44 (26b, 3x4, 3x6), T. Dilshan (run out) 76 (53b, 5x4, 3x6), K. Sangakkara (run out) 21 (14b, 4x4), J. Mendis c Taylor b Franklin 8 (9b, 1x4), A. Mathews (not out) 12 (11b), T. Perera b Franklin 5 (3b, 1x4), L. Thirimanne (not out) 5 (4b, 1x4); Extras: (lb-1, w-2) 3; Total (for six wkts. in 20 overs): 174.
Fall of wickets: 1-80 (Jayawardene), 2-119 (Sangakkara), 3-131 (J. Mendis), 4-161 (Dilshan), 5-167 (Perera), 6-174 (Thirimanne).
New Zealand bowling: N. McCullum 3-0-25-0, Mills 2-0-15-0, Southee 4-0-44-0, Oram 3-0-26-1, Vettori 4-0-29-0, Franklin 4-0-34-2.
Super Over: Sri Lanka: 13 for one bt New Zealand 8 for one.
Man-of-the-match: T. Dilshan.