Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Ross Taylor smashed a 29-ball 48 to lead New Zealand to a five-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the first Twenty20 International in Pallekele.
Opting to bat first, Sri Lanka got off to a brisk start before Kusal Perera was caught by Colin de Grandhomme at mid-off off the bowling of Tim Southee for 11.
Avishka Fernando only made 10 runs before he was stumped by Tim Seifert off the bowling of Mitchell Santner.
Kusal Mendis and Niroshan Dickwella steadied things with a 63-run partnership, during which Mendis surpassed his fifty, before he was dismissed by Southee for 79, which came off 53 balls and included eight boundaries and two sixes.
Dickwella went on to score 33 before he was run out by Seifert.
With Dasun Shanaka scoring an unbeaten 17 and Isuru Udana hammering 15 runs off just three balls, Sri Lanka finished on 174/4 off their 20 overs.
Southee was the pick of the bowlers with two wickets, while Santner chipped in with one.
Chasing 175 to win, New Zealand were dealt a big blow on the fourth ball of their innings as Colin Munro was clean bowled by Sri Lanka captain Lasith Malinga for a golden duck.
Martin Guptill mustered 11 runs before he was removed by Akila Dananjaya.
Seifert didn’t fare much better as he was caught behind off the bowling of debutant Wanindu Hasaranga for 15 runs.
Taylor and De Grandhomme rescued New Zealand as they forged a 79-run partnership before De Grandhomme was cleaned up by Malinga for 44, which came off 28 balls and included four boundaries and two sixes.
Taylor went on to make a 29-ball 48, which included three boundaries and two sixes, before he was trapped lbw off the bowling of Hasaranga.
Daryl Mitchell and Santner mopped up the remaining runs to lead New Zealand to victory with three balls to spare.
Malinga and Hasaranga took two wickets apiece, while Dananjaya claimed one.
Taylor was named Man of the Match.