New Zealand fly high; down Sri Lanka in T20

Auckland: The recalled Doug Bracewell and debutant Scott Kuggeleijn starred with bat and ball for New Zealand to beat Sri Lanka by 35 runs in the one-off Twenty20 match in Auckland on Friday. It ended a dismal tour for the Sri Lankans with the drawn first Test followed by a succession of losses in the second Test, three one-dayers and the Twenty20. New Zealand, sent into bat, recovered from 55 for five to finish on 179 for seven with Bracewell (44) and Kuggeleijn (35 not out) the key contributors. Although the target was not daunting, and Sri Lanka easily kept up with the required run rate to be four for 118 after 12 overs.

But their last six wickets fell for the addition of only 26 more runs and the innings folded for 144 with 19 balls remaining. Kusal Perera, who raced to 22 off 12 deliveries was removed by Kuggeleijn’s third delivery while Niroshan Dickwella, who smacked a four and a six from the first two balls of the innings, went for 18 with the first ball from Bracewell.

Sri Lanka did with the toss and put New Zealand into bat with impressive early results. With a more disciplined bowling attack than was seen in the ODIs, and with astute field placements, Sri Lanka ripped through the New Zealand top order to have them four for 27 midway through the fourth over Ross Taylor, who tormented Sri Lanka in the one-dayers, had to play a more circumspect role. Taylor’s patience, however, had set the stage for the Bracewell and Kuggeleijn to hit out and give the total some respectability.

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