Sports News from Sri Lanka: A bruising 79-run fourth-wicket standing off 37 balls between Ross Taylor and Colin de Grandhomme energized and set them on track for what would ultimately become a comfortable win.
With three balls and five wickets remaining, the visitors went down Sri Lanka’s 174. The couple had come together with the score at 39 for 3, climbing the necessary level to 11, but blasted between them four sixes and seven fours as the bowlers of Sri Lanka struggled with a humid, slippery ball. When the two were dismissed, the match was still not quite secure, but Mitchell Santner and Daryl Mitchell saw the visitors back with a 31-run stand coming out of 16 balls.
The win of New Zealand was despite the fact that Sri Lanka had generated the evening’s finest individual innings. Kusal Mendis had previously hit 79 off 53 balls opening the innings, setting up a 63-run partnership for the third wicket in the process with Niroshan Dickwella. But some mid-period dawdling, and some great Tim Southee bowling at multiple innings phases, stopped Sri Lanka from posting a really large total.
Southee took 2 for 20 and was nearly matched by Lasith Malinga, who struck the middle stumps of Colin Munro and de Grandhomme on his way to 2 for 23 with searing Yorkers. If at the beginning of the 19th over he hadn’t flung five wide down the legside, Sri Lanka might have had a chance in the final over. New Zealand, as it went, only needed three to win off the 20th.
De Grandhomme or Taylor did not take long to find the boundary. De Grandhomme clubbed his second ball for four past covers, and Taylor found his first four through the sweep-various iterations of the shot happening to prove fruitful to him throughout the evening-but it wasn’t until the halfway mark in the innings that large blows started to arrive in fast succession. New Zealand produced 17 runs off each of the 11th, 12th and 13th overs, as well as running well between the wickets, the couple hit four sixes and two fours through this period.
However, it might have gone incorrect. Sri Lanka would regret Taylor’s dropped catch on 31–trying a third six off Akila Dananjaya, Taylor miscued one to profound midwicket, but Dasun Shanaka was unable to hold on to a simple opportunity.