New Zealand beat Sri Lanka by five wickets in their first T20I.
Sri Lanka won the toss in Kandy and chose to bat first, with Kusal Perera and Kusal Mendis giving them a solid platform with a stand of 41 for the first wicket, until Perera fell for 11, caught by Colin de Grandhomme, off the bowling of Tim Southee. Mendis then combined with Avishka Fernando in a stand of 27, before Fernando was out for 10, stumped, with Mitchell Santner the bowler.
Mendis then shared a partnership of 63 for the third wicket with Niroshan Dickwella but, having reached 79, his highest T20I score to date, he was caught by Martin Guptill of Southee, having hit 2 sixes and 8 fours. Dickwella and Dasun Shanaka added 28, before Dickwella, having made 33, was run out by the New Zealand wicketkeeper Tim Seiffert, off the third ball of the last over. That brought Isuru Udana to the crease and he smashed 15 not out, off just 3 balls including 2 sixes. Shanaka, meanwhile, was undefeated on 17 at the other end, as Sri Lanka closed their innings on 174 – 4.
The New Zealand reply got off to a poor start when they lost Colin Munro off the fourth ball of the innings for a duck, bowled by Lasith Malinga, before his fellow opener Guptill departed for 11, caught by Shanaka off Akila Dananjaya. Seiffert and de Grandhomme then put on 21, before Seiffert fell to the bowling of Wanindu Hasaranga for 15, Kusal Perera supplying the catch.
However, de Grandhomme and Ross Taylor provided the acceleration needed for the Kiwis, adding 79 in a little over seven overs, with both men finding the boundary to telling effect. The first to fall was de Grandhomme, out for 44, including 2 sixes, bowled by Malinga. Taylor ad Daryl Mitchell then put on 26, and although Taylor fell for 48, having hit 2 sixes of his own, lbw to Hasaranga, he had set his side on course for victory.
It was left to Mitchell and Santner to guide their side to victory, the pair putting on an unbeaten 31, as New Zealand reached their target with 3 balls to spare. Mitchell, who hit 2 sixes was undefeated on 25, whilst Santner, with a six of his own, was 14 not out