A thrilling ODI series was concluded, handing over the victory to New Zealand despite a resilient comeback by the visitors during the latter part of the contest.
As the two sides move towards the shortest format of the game, the defending T20 world champions and the hosts will use this series to seek out arrangements in preparing themselves for the upcoming T20 World Cup in India.
The two sides met for the first time in a T20 game at Wellington in 2006. Stephen Fleming captained the hosts while Mahela Jayawardene led the visitors. Sri Lanka won the inaugural encounter by 18 runs according to the D/L method. Responding to New Zealand’s 162/8, Sri Lanka needed 45 runs from 5.5 overs when Sanath Jayasuriya slammed an explosive 51 in 23 deliveries to seal the win.
New Zealand recorded their first ever win against Sri Lanka during the following T20 at Auckland by 5 wickets. The two sides haven’t played a T20 on New Zealand soil since then.
Perhaps one of the most memorable T20 battles between them happened during the 2012 World Cup. In the group stage match at Pallekele, New Zealand batted first, piling up 174 runs in 20 overs while the hosts responded with exactly 174, leaving a match into a super over to break the tie. The one over eliminator saw Sri Lanka scoring 13 runs but New Zealand were only able to respond with 7 to Malinga’s bowling. However, keeping the result aside, the highlight of this stellar game was the gentleman gesture of Brendon McCullum as he refused to take the single and attended to Akila Dananjaya after a Rob Nicol shot hit the debutant’s face. Had he taken the run, the ultimate outcome could have narrated a different story.
Sri Lanka vs New Zealand Overall T20 record Head to Head –
Played – 13
Sri Lanka – 6
New Zealand – 5
Tied – 1
No result – 1
Recap of the last decade
New Zealand traveled to Sri Lanka in 2009 and during the tour, both T20s were won by the visitors. In 2012, the two sides met in the USA and the two match series ended 1-1. In years, 2012 and 2013 New Zealand’s tours to the paradise island featured a T20 in each. In 2012 it ended without a result and in 2013 Sri Lanka won the solitary game.
The last time these two sides met in a T20 was in the 2014 World Cup in Chittagong. Considered as one of the best Sri Lankan comebacks in the format, the Lions pulled out a dramatic win by defending a mere 119. Rangana Herath’s nifty spin bulldozed the Blackcaps as he claimed a staggering 5 wickets for 3 runs, dismantling a pursuit which crumbled for 60 runs.
Most runs – Mahela Jayawardene (301 runs in 12 innings) (Avg. 33.44)
Most runs for NZ – Ross Taylor (239 runs in 12 innings) (Avg. 19.91)
Highest individual score in an innings – Mahela Jayawardene (81 at Providence 2010)
Most wickets – Ajantha Mendis (12 wickets in 8 innings) (Avg. 16.16)
Most Wickets for NZ – Nathan McCullum (7 wickets in 8 innings) (Avg. 22.57)
Best Bowling performance – Rangana Herath (5 wickets for 3 runs at Chittagong, 2014)