New Zealand defeated Sri Lanka by five wickets in the 1st T20I played at Palleke International Stadium, Kandy on Sunday.
Sri Lankan captain Lasith Malinga won the toss and decided to bat first. Kusal Perera and Kusal Mendis got the team off to a flying start putting pressure on New Zealand bowlers. Tim Southee got the breakthrough dismissing Kusal Perera for 11. Kusal Perera and Kusal Mendis added 41 runs for the opening wicket. At the end of six overs, Sri Lanka were 50 for 1.
Kusal Mendis played with positive intent and showed his class with big hits. Avishka Fernando could not score much as he was dismissed for 10 off 17 balls. Kusal Mendis continued their aggressive intent and reached his half-century off 35 balls. Mendis and Dickwella made the batting look easy taking singles and hitting boundaries. Tim Southee dismissed the dangerous Kusal Mendis for 79. Mendis and Dickwella added 63 runs for the 3rd wicket. Dasun Shanaka came to the crease and scored 17 of 12 balls. Isuru Udana scored a quickfire 15 off 3 balls to help Sri Lanka post 174 for 4 in 20 overs.
Chasing the target of 175 runs to win, the Kiwis got off to a worse start as Colin Munro was bowled with a beauty of Yorker for 0. Akila Danajaya dismissed Martin Guptill to put New Zealand under pressure at 18 for 2. At the end of 6 overs, New Zealand were 36 for 2. After the power play overs, de Silva got the wicket of Tim Seifert to put Kiwis under more pressure. Colin de Grandhomme and Ross Taylor steadied the innings for New Zealand with aggressive stroke play. Ross Taylor was dropped, and Sri Lanka had to pay as both Taylor and de Grandhomme made the batting look easy.
As things looked dangerous for Sri Lanka, Lasith Malinga struck again dismissing Colin de Grandhomme. Taylor and de Grandhomme added 79 runs for the 4th wicket. Daryl Mitchell came to the crease and took on the attack to Sri Lankan bowlers. Hasaranga dismissed Ross Taylor for a superb 48 off 29 balls. With the score at 144 for 5, rain arrived. After the rain break, Mitchell and Mitchell Santer played cameo knocks to help Kiwis win the match by 5 wickets with balls to spare.
New Zealand 175 for 5 in 19.3 overs (Ross Taylor 48, Colin de Grandhomme 44, Lasith Malinga 2/23, Hasaranaga 2/21) beat Sri Lanka 174 for 4 in 20 overs ( Kusal Mendis 79, Tim Southee 2/20) by 5 wickets.
New Zealand takes a 1-0 lead in the 3 matches T20I series. The 2nd T20I will be played on 3rd at the same ground.