Middle-order Ross Taylor and all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme delivered splendid batting performances to help New Zealand register five-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the first T20I of series in Pallekele on Sunday. The day started with Sri Lanka Captain Lasith Malinga winning the toss and opting to bat first in good batting conditions.
His decision proved to be a correct one as Kusal Mendis and Kusal Perera put on a 41-run partnership to get the side off to a good start. New Zealand made a comeback and picked up Kusal Perera and Avishka Fernando in quick succession.
The star of the show was right-handed batsman Kusal Mendis, who finished the innings with the top score of 79 off 53 balls with the help of eight fours and two sixes. Niroshan Dickwella also played well and scored 33 off 25 balls. Dasun Shanaka and Isuru Udana produced quick runs at the back end of the innings and helped Sri Lanka post 174 for loss of four wickets in their allotted 20 overs.
For New Zealand, the star of the show was pace bowler Tim Southee, who claimed two wickets and just gave away 20 runs in his four overs.He was well supported by left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner, who claimed one wicket and gave away 22 runs in his four overs.
Hosts Sri Lanka register comfortable five-wicket win in the opening game of the T20I series
In reply, New Zealand got off to poor start as they lost Martin Guptill and hard-hitting batsman Colin Munro for 18 runs on the board. Tim Siefert also produced crucial runs for the side and scored 15 off 21 balls.
Middle-order Ross Taylor produced a brilliant display of batting and added 79 runs with Colin Grandhomme to put New Zealand in a strong position to win the game. Taylor was the standout player in the batting department and scored 48 off 29 balls.
He was well supported by all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme, who scored 44 off 28 balls with the help of four fours and two sixes.For England, Pace bowler Lasith Malinga was the pick of the bowlers, as he claimed two wickets.
For his outstanding batting performance, Ross Taylor was named player of the match.