By Srian Obeyesekere
New Zealand defeated Sri Lanka by 4 wickets making 183 for the loss of 6 wickets with a ball to spare in reply to the visitors 182/6 off 20 overs at the John Davies Oval in Queenstown on Saturday to clinch the series 2-1. Put into bat, Sri Lanka did well to post a challenging target propelled by Kusal Mendis who struck 73 off 48 packed with 4 sixes and 6 boundaries. He put on 72 for the first wicket off 9.3 overs with Pathum Nissanka who made 25 inclusive of 4 boundaries as the duo made the most of the power play.
Mendis went on to add a further 50 runs off 25 balls with Kusal Janith Perera 33 for the second wicket off 25 when he existed with Sri Lanka well placed on 122 for 2 after 13-5 overs. When Kusal Janith departed at 156 after 15.5 overs, the Lankans were still within reach of setting New Zealand a 190-plus target, but were pushed back by the Kiwi bowlers managing 26 off the last.25 slog overs.
New Zealand got going with Tim Seifert leading the run charge with a belligerent 88-off just 48 powered by 10.boundaries and 3 sixes. He added 53 for the first wicket off 5-3 with Chad Bowes 17 who was dismissed by Lahiru Kumara caught behind by Mendis.
The Seifert-Tom Latham second-wicket partnership yielded 84 off 50 balls New Zealand reaching 137 for 2 off 14.1 when the Kiwi skipper was bowled by Maheesh Theekshana for 31 off 23 with a six and boundary. When Seinert was fourth out caught by Rajitha off Pramod Madushan New Zealand had reached 154 for 3 after 15.1 and the next 32 off the last 29 deliveries got them through on a faster canter despite losing three quick wickets in the process. Lahiru Kumara was the pick of the Lankan bowlers with 3 for 38.
CHIEF SCORES: Sri Lanka 182/6.(20 Overs) (Kusal Mendis 73, Kusal Janith Perera 33, Pathum 25, Dhananjaya de Silva 20, Dasun Shanaka 15, Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva n.o. 0, Maheesh Theekshana n.o. 0, Ben Lister 2/37, Adam Milne /30, Ish Sodhi 1/30) New Zealand 183/6 (19.5 Overs) (Tim Seifert 88, Tom Latham 31, Chad Bowes 17, Daryl Mitchell 15, Mark Chapman 16, R. Ravindra n.o. 0, Adam Milne n.o. 0, Lahiru Kumara 3/38, Maheesh Theekshana 1/22, Pramod Madushan 1/38)