New Zealand vs Sri Lanka 6th ODI: Williamson and Taylor hand New Zealand unassailable 4-1 lead

Anderson was named Man of the Match for excelling with both the bat and ball

Anderson was named Man of the Match for excelling with both the bat and ball

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

New Zealand’s batting duo of Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor scored 97 and 96 respectively to not only crush Sri Lanka by 120 runs, but also give the Blackcaps an unassailable 4-1 lead.

Williamson and Taylor were well supported by all-rounder Corey Anderson, who scored 40 runs and took four wickets.

However, Sri Lanka wicketkeeper-batsman Kumar Sangakkara deserves some credit for his valiant knock of 81.

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum would have been regretting his decision to bat first after he himself was caught by Thisara Perera at mid-off off the bowling of Dhammika Prasad for a duck.

Martin Guptill and Williamson made up for the early loss of McCullum with a 59-run partnership before Guptill was caught behind off the bowling of Perera for 28.

Williamson and Taylor kept the runs flowing with a 117-run partnership, during which Williamson brought up his half-century, before he was run out by Prasad.

Williamson’s brilliant knock of 97 came off 95 balls and included eight boundaries and two sixes.

Williamson's sublime form with the bat continued

Williamson’s sublime form with the bat continued

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

New Zealand’s dominance with the bat continued as Taylor and Anderson put together a 78-run partnership, during which Taylor registered his half-century, before Anderson was caught by Perera off the bowling of Rangana Herath for 40.

Taylor ended up making 96 off 102 deliveries, which included seven boundaries and two sixes, before he was given out lbw off the bowling of Tillakaratne Dilshan.

Taylor hit seven boundaries and two sixes during his knock of 96

Taylor hit seven boundaries and two sixes during his knock of 96

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Taylor decided to review the decision, but replays showed that the ball was pitching in line and going on to hit the stumps. This led to the third umpire upholding the original decision.

Luke Ronchi scored 13 runs before he was caught by Dimuth Karunaratne at extra cover off the bowling of Prasad.

Daniel Vettori only made three runs before he was run out by Sangakkara.

Kyle Mills failed to trouble the scorers as he was run out by Karunaratne for a diamond duck.

Thanks to Williamson and Taylor, New Zealand finished on 315/8 off their 50 overs.

Prasad was the pick of the bowlers with two wickets, while Herath, Perera and Dilshan chipped in with one wicket apiece.

Chasing 316 to win, Sri Lanka got off to an excellent start as Dilshan and stand-in captain Lahiru Thirimanne amassed a 56-run partnership before Dilshan was caught behind off the bowling of Anderson for 21.

Following Dilshan’s dismissal, Thirimanne and Mahela Jayawardene were dismissed in quick succession.

Sangakkara and Karunaratne stabilised the innings with a 64-run partnership, during which Sangakkara recorded his half-century, before Karunaratne was caught by Mills at mid-on off the bowling of Anderson for 26.

After Karunaratne was back in the pavilion, Sri Lanka’s middle and lower order, with the exception of Sangakkara, completely collapsed as they went from 146/4 to being bowled out for 195.

Sangakkara scored 81 off 66 balls, which included seven boundaries and two sixes.

Sangakkara made a gutsy 81

Sangakkara made a gutsy 81

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Anderson was the most successful bowler with four wickets, while Mitchell McClenaghan snapped up two and Trent Boult claimed one.

Thirimanne was disappointed to have lost, and said: “Our concern is our death bowling. We bowled the first 35 very good, but not so in the last 15 overs. We couldn’t get any wickets and we leaked runs. We need to come out of this strong. Our fast bowlers don’t have much experience, especially with Nuwan and Lasith out. Lasith should be okay for the World Cup. This is all a learning curve for the young boys. Hopefully we can get it right for the World Cup. Kumar played very well in this series, but our middle order needs to be more consistent. That is our main concern. We do have another game to make this right and get our confidence right for the World Cup.”

McCullum was ecstatic to have taken a 4-1 lead in the series, and said: “It was a thorough performance today. We came in against a very good SL team. The partnerships we built on the way to 315 was very good, and the bowlers came through in the end as well. Very happy with the series win. We try to be reasonably aggressive at the start, but we do have some quality batsmen who can spend time out in the middle. We have the options and some class players to help us get the balance right. Corey I thought was really good today. Kept running in hard and taking wickets and being aggressive with the ball. Ross went very well and missed out on a big total there. You are never going to be 100% as you do crave that perfection. As long as you strive to keep getting better and have the right attitude then we can do some good things.”

Anderson was named Man of the Match, and said: “You are not always going to get wickets, but today it was nice. Brendon was talking to me quite a bit and backed me up. It was nice to get through ten overs today as well. Feeling reasonably good with the bat, and I thought the way Rosco and Kane played helped make my job easier. It has been really good here in Dunedin. It has been hot so it is nice to see the crowds as well.”

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