Sri Lanka’s barren run against New Zealand finally came to a halt after the visitors got over the line in a thrilling T20I series opener in Auckland. The Asian side registered their first win of the tour after edging past the Kiwis in a super over. Charith Asalanka and Maheesh Theekshana were the heroes for the visitors as they kept their cool in the super over.
Chasing an above-par total, New Zealand were rocked early as they lost both their openers inside the first two overs of the chase. That is when skipper Tom Latham and Daryl Mitchell steadied the ship for the Kiwis with a solid stand for the third wicket.
Despite Latham’s dismissal, the Blackcaps were in a solid position in the chase, thanks to Mitchell and Mark Chapman’s brisk partnership. However, Sri Lanka clawed their way back into the match when both the set batters were dismissed in quick succession. James Neesham’s departure felt like the final nail in the coffin for the home side before Rachin Ravindra smashed Chamika Karunaratne for two sixes and a boundary to bring New Zealand back from the dead.
It felt like the match had slipped from New Zealand’s grasp when they needed seven runs from the final delivery, but the home side found an unlikely hero in Ish Sodhi, who sent the match into a super over after smashing Dasun Shanaka for a maximum on the last delivery. The home side could manage just eight runs in the super over as Theekshana spun a web around the Kiwi batters. Asalanka sealed the win for the Lankans after smashing Adam Milna for a six and a boundary in the super over.
Charith Asalanka’s brisk half-century helped Sri Lanka to a challenging total
Sri Lanka were put into bat first by New Zealand skipper Tom Latham, who won the toss and elected to field first on a belter of a wicket in Auckland. His decision turned out to be a masterstroke as the returning Adam Milne nicked off Pathum Nissanka on the very first delivery of the match.
Despite that initial setback, the visitors got off to a rollicking start, thanks to a scathing assault from Kusal Mendis, who smoked 25 runs off just nine deliveries. Dhananjaya de Silva was the third Sri Lankan batter to depart in the powerplay. The home side were threatening to make a comeback in the match, but Kusal Perera and Charith Asalanka kept them on the bay with a magnificent 103-run stand for the fourth wicket.
While Perera held the innings together, Asalanka was quite severe on anything loose. Wanindu Hasranaga’s explosive cameo at the end was the icing on the cake for the visitors as they made their way to 196 runs in their 20 overs.
Maheesh Theekshana in this match against New Zealand: 4-0-22-1 In Super Over – 8/2. The CSK’s mystery man is just amazing, What a bowler!
10:22 AM · Apr 02, 2023
Maheesh Theekshana so consistently good when batters come hard at him. Not many spinners in the world can bowl those big overs.
10:22 AM · Apr 02, 2023
Sri Lanka beat New Zealand in the super over – Charith Asalanka and Maheesh Theekshana the heroes for Sri Lanka. Charith Asalanka smashed 6,4 in 2 balls – What a win for Sri Lanka, Incredible Asalanka!
10:29 AM · Apr 02, 2023
Brilliant ‘super-over’ win by Sri Lanka in the 1st T20I against New Zealand in New Zealand. Incredible ‘super-over’ bowled by Theekshana after his 4-0-22-1. Charith 67 and the ‘super-over’ finish. Kusal Perera 53* on his Int’l return. Played, Sri Lanka. 🇱🇰🔥 #Cricket #NZvSL
10:34 AM · Apr 02, 2023
Charith Asalanka delivers in a gripping T20I! The left-hander made 67 in Sri Lanka’s innings before more heroics in the Super Over to beat New Zealand 🙌 #NZvSL scorecard: bit.ly/3G5DO2r
10:35 AM · Apr 02, 2023
We are going to a super over! #SparkSport #NZvSL
10:17 AM · Apr 02, 2023
🇱🇰 win in super over, take a lead of 1️⃣-0️⃣ in the 3-match series. 👊 #NZvSL
10:40 AM · Apr 02, 2023
Via a Super Over, Sri Lanka get there first win in New Zealand across any format since 2015 stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stat… #NZvSL
10:31 AM · Apr 02, 2023
This is the 8th Super Over defeat by New Zealand in men’s international cricket. No other team lost more than 2. #NZvSL
10:31 AM · Apr 02, 2023
Great to see KJP back in action. KM gave the innings a much needed impetus. Asalanka performs the best when he’s in this mood. Theekshana once again proved his quality. But, I believe the match shouldn’t have gone to a super over. Good luck for the next game boys!🇱🇰❤️ #NZvSL
11:01 AM · Apr 02, 2023
Calm under pressure from The master Ish. twitter.com/blackcaps/stat…
We’re going to a Super Over! clutch at the death from Ish Sodhi with a six to tie the scores and keep the game alive! Follow the Super Over LIVE on @sparknzsport or free-to-air on TVNZ 1 📺 and with Rova 📻 LIVE scoring https://t.co/gq44d7sVaI #NZvSL #CricketNation
10:13 AM · Apr 02, 2023
The Theekshana Twist! 🌪 2️⃣Super Over Wickets 🏹 #NZvSL #WhistlePodu 📸. : Getty
11:02 AM · Apr 02, 2023