Riding on Colin de Grandhomme’s 59 and Tom Bruce’s 53, New Zealand defeated Sri Lanka in the second Twenty-20 International (T20I) by four wickets at Pallekele on Tuesday. Having won the first game as well, the visitors have now taken an unassailable lead of 2-0 in the three-match series.
Chasing a modest total of 162, the Kiwis did not have a great start. Akila Dananjaya drew the first blood as he got the opener Colin Munro out for 13 in the second over. He followed it up with two more wickets in his next over to reduce New Zealand to 38/3 in the fourth over. His latest victims were Tim Seifert (15) and Scott Kuggeleijn (8) who were trapped plumb in-front to be adjudged LBW in identical manners. He returned with a figure of 3/36.
De Grandhomme and Bruce then steadied the ship for their team and started the rebuilding process. Understanding the demand of the situation, the duo never let the require-rate go out of their reach and played their shots freely all around. Both the batsmen played brilliantly for their half-centuries as they staged a match-winning partnership of 115 runs.
With 15 required from 11 deliveries, de Grandhomme lost his wicket and gave a bleak hope to the hosts. Seven shy of victory, the touring side lost two wickets in the first two deliveries of the last over to send a panic alert to the Kiwi dressing room. However, tailender Mitchell Santner had other plans as he hit a six and a boundary off consecutive deliveries to seal the match and the series for his team.
Earlier in the day, cameos by Niroshan Dickwella (39) and Avishka Fernando (37) saw the Lasith Malinga-led side posting a commendable total of 161 in the board. The batsmen scripted a partnership of 68 in little more than seven overs. Also, Shehan Jayasuriya (20) and Isuru Udana (13) had chipped in with important contributions down the order. Tim Southee was the star with the ball for his team as he bowled for a figure of 2/18 in four overs with a magical economy of just 4.5.