Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Doug Bracewell smashed a 26-ball 44 and took a wicket as New Zealand cruised past Sri Lanka by 35 runs in the one-off Twenty20 International in Auckland.
Opting to bowl first, Sri Lanka got a breakthrough on the fourth ball of the match as New Zealand opener Martin Guptill was caught by Kusal Mendis near mid-on off the bowling of captain Lasith Malinga for one run.
Tim Seifert failed to have an impact as well as he was caught by Lakshan Sandakan at cover off the bowling of Kasun Rajitha for two runs.
With Henry Nicholls, Colin Munro and Mitchell Santner all falling in quick succession, New Zealand found themselves struggling at 55/5 in the 10th over.
However, Ross Taylor and Bracewell began New Zealand’s fightback with a 47-run partnership before Taylor was caught behind off the bowling of Thisara Perera for 33.
Bracewell and debutant Scott Kuggeleijn added 41 runs to the score before Bracewell was dismissed by Rajitha for 44, which came off 26 balls and included a boundary and five sixes.
With Kuggeleijn going on to score an unbeaten 35, New Zealand finished on 179/7 off their 20 overs.
Rajitha was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets, while Malinga snapped up two, and Thisara and Sandakan chipped in with one wicket apiece.
Chasing 180 to win, Sri Lanka lost opener Sadeera Samarawickrama on the fifth ball of their innings as he was clean bowled by Lockie Ferguson for a golden duck.
Kusal Perera managed to score 23 before he was caught by Bracewell at mid-on off the bowling of Kuggeleijn.
Niroshan Dickwella fell soon after for 18, but Mendis and Thisara stabilised the innings with a 49-run stand before Mendis was removed by New Zealand stand-in captain Tim Southee for 17.
Thisara ended up making a 24-ball 43, which included two boundaries and three sixes, before he was caught by Bracewell at long-off off the bowling of Ferguson.
Once Thisara was gone, Sri Lanka crumbled as they went from 118/5 to being bowled out for 144.
Ferguson and Ish Sodhi took three wickets apiece, while Southee, Bracewell, Kuggeleijn and Santner claimed one wicket each.
Bracewell was named Man of the Match.