New Zealand kick-started the 3-match T20I series against Sri Lanka with a close win in the opening match. Kusal Mendis scored a 53-ball 79 with ten boundaries to guide the hosts to 174/4 after electing to bat first. The spinners and Lasith Malinga’s opening spell kept the Blackcaps quite as they crawled to 62/3 at halfway stage. However, Ross Taylor (48 off 29) and Colin de Grandhomme (44 off 28) scored 17 runs each in the next three overs to ease the pressure. Daryl Mitchell and Mitchell Santner added 31 runs in 2.4 overs for the 6th wicket to guide their team to a 5-wicket win with three balls to spare.
All the statistical highlights from New Zealand victory over Sri Lanka in the first T20I game:
A record chase:
175 – New Zealand’s 175-run chase is their 2nd highest successful chase in T20I cricket. The 201-run chase in the 2012 Hamilton T20I against Zimbabwe is the only other successful T20I chase of a 170+ target by the Kiwis.
This is also the 4th highest T20I chase by any team against Sri Lanka and also the 2nd highest against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka. Bangladesh chased down 215 during the last year’s Nidahas Trophy.
Sri Lanka on top of an embarrassing record:
57 – Number of matches that Sri Lanka have lost in the T20I format; the most by any team. West Indies and Zimbabwe also lost 57 T20Is apiece thus far.
Malinga surpasses Afridi:
99 – Lasith Malinga became the leading wicket-taker in Men’s T20I cricket. He thus surpassed Shahid Afridi’s tally of 98 wickets with the two wickets he took in this match.
40 – Malinga has 40 wickets in T20I cricket via bowled; the most number of bowled wickets for any player in T20Is. He went past Afridi in this record as well. The leg-spinner from Pakistan had 39 wickets via bowled in this format.
A record knock in defeat:
79 – Kusal Mendis’ 79-run knock is the highest individual T20I score in a home defeat by a Sri Lankan. Kusal Perera made 74 during their defeat in Colombo during the last year’s Nidahas Trophy.
Overall, Mendis’ 79 is the 2nd highest individual score by a Sri Lankan opener in a T20I defeat. Mahela Jayawardene scored 81 in the 2010 WT20 game also against New Zealand.
An expensive spell:
58 – Seth Rance conceded 58 runs in the four overs he bowled in this game; the 2nd most number of runs conceded by a New Zealand bowler in a T20I. Ben Wheeler gave away 64 runs in only 3.1 overs he bowled in the last year’s Auckland T20I against Australia.
Scoring at 500 strike rate:
500 – Isuru Udana scored 15* off three deliveries at a strike rate of 500. He is only the 2nd player to bat more than two balls in an International innings at a strike rate of 500 and more. Albie Morkel scored an unbeaten 16 off three deliveries in the 2012 Johannesburg T20I against India at a strike rate of 533.33.
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