A career-best bowling performance from Adam Milne followed by a sparkling Tim Seifert fifty propelled New Zealand to a thumping nine-wicket win against Sri Lanka in the second of the three-match T20I series at University Oval, Dunedin on Wednesday (April 5).
The victory was set up by New Zealand's bowlers who did a tremendous job, particularly at the back end of the Sri Lankan innings, to restrict the visitors to a well below-par total. Despite losing their openers early, the Lankans did look on course for another strong total with Kusal Perera and Dhananjaya de Silva stitching a fluent 62-run stand for the third wicket, the latter in particular looked in ominous touch.
It was Milne who broke the partnership with a slower ball that Perera miscued to deep mid-wicket and the breakthrough started a dramatic slide of sorts. Dhananjaya fell soon after and despite a few handy blows from Asalanka, wickets kept tumbling regularly at the other end to derail the innings completely. The last four overs of the innings produced just 24 runs for the loss of six wickets with Sri Lanka also failing to bat out their full quota.
Milne used his pace variations to good effect on a Dunedin surface that did respond reasonably to clever pace change-ups. The spin duo of Ish Sodhi and Rachin Ravindra also had a great outing, squeezing the run flow during the middle overs. In the end, Sri Lanka fell well short of a competitive total.
In reply, New Zealand made short work of the run chase. Chad Bowes' breezy cameo got the innings off to a flier and while he didn't carry on, his partner Seifert certainly did as the wicket-keeper batter got stuck into Sri Lanka's bowling. Apart from Maheesh Theekshana, all the Lankan bowlers bore the brunt of his onslaught as the target was reached with 32 deliveries left to spare.
The series is now level 1-1 with the decider to be played in Queenstown on Saturday (April 8).
Brief scores: New Zealand 146/1 in 14.4 overs (Seifert 79*, Bowes 31) beat Sri Lanka 141 in 20 overs (De Silva 37, Perera 35, Milne 5-26) by nine wickets