The Sunday Island: “Sri Lanka prevail in Super Over to register first win on the tour”
In a game of massive ebbs and flows, it needed a Super Over to settle things between New Zealand and Sri Lanka in the first T20I in Auckland on Sunday (April 2). In the end, the visitors held their nerve to get across the line.
The tone for the game was set in the PowerPlay by Sri Lanka after they were put into bat on a fabulous batting surface at Eden Park. Kusal Mendis’ cameo created impetus from the word go as did Dhananjaya de Silva, but it was the partnership between Kusal Perera and Charith Asalanka that put the Lankans in pole position.
After a rollicking powerplay that yielded 72 runs, Perera and Asalanka ensured that the momentum wasn’t wasted by stitching a 103-run partnership off just 68 deliveries. Both got fifties and Perera batted through to control the innings from one end, even though it was Asalanka’s knock that really put the visitors in front.
New Zealand did pull things back brilliantly between overs 17-19 with some crafty death bowling, but Wanindu Hasaranga’s breezy cameo meant that 18 came off the 20th over to give Sri Lanka the ideal finish to the innings.
It was a par score and the task got even more tougher for the hosts as they lost both their openers within seven deliveries of the run chase. Skipper Tom Latham played a few shots to get the innings going but when he fell, it seemed like New Zealand would slip away, despite a well-set Daryl Mitchell at the other end.
But Mitchell got excellent support from Mark Chapman as the duo went about rebuilding the chase. Slowly but steadily, New Zealand were back in it and a 24-run over from Dilshan Madushanka actually put the hosts in front.
Sri Lanka, though, hung in there with timely strikes through their spin twins, and Pramod Madushan with Dasun Shanaka also nipping a couple. Rachin Ravindra threatened to finish the game off with his audacious cameo but it was not to be. With 13 needed off the last over, Ravindra fell first ball and one more time it appeared like the game was done. Only for the final twist to emerge.
A couple of twos and as many singles later, New Zealand were left with the task of needing seven off the final delivery to win – realistically a six to tie the game. With Ish Sodhi on strike, the chance of that happening was quite low. But, the leg spinner produced an astounding hit under pressure, shuffling across early and then calmly chipping it over deep mid-wicket for a maximum.
The momentum was with New Zealand heading into the Super Over but they ran into Maheesh Theekshana who unleashed a cracking set of six deliveries to go with the outstanding spell he had bowled earlier in the game. Only eight were scored and Asalanka nailed them off with two blows to give Sri Lanka their first win on the tour.
Sri Lanka 196/5 (Asalanka 67, Perera 53, Neesham 2-30) beat New Zealand 196/8 (Mitchell 66, Chapman 33, Shanaka 2-2) in the Super Over.
1st T20I, Auckland, April 02, 2023, Sri Lanka tour of New Zealand
(20 ov, T:197) 196/8
Match tied (Sri Lanka won the one-over eliminator)
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Charith Asalanka, SL