Dilshan, Perera steer Sri Lanka to 1-0 series win

Reuters, PALLEKELE, Sri Lanka

Sat, Nov 23, 2013 - Page 19

Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kusal Perera slammed quick half-centuries to steer Sri Lanka to an eight-wicket win over New Zealand on Thursday and take the two-match Twenty20 series 1-0.

New Zealand were restricted to 142-7 after being asked to bat first and Sri Lanka knocked the runs off with 13 balls to spare, scoring 143-2.

The first Twenty20 on Tuesday was abandoned due to rain.

Dilshan and Perera led Sri Lanka’s run chase with a second-wicket stand of 96 off 71 balls after they had lost Mahela Jayawardene leg before wicket for 3 in the second over.

Perera, who got off the mark with a straight driven six off Mitchell McClenaghan, raced to 57 off 37 balls.

He made New Zealand pay dearly for failing to catch him on 6 and 39 by hitting two sixes and six fours, before miscuing a drive to give bowler Rob Nicol a return catch.

Dilshan continued his good form against New Zealand by completing his fourth consecutive half-century.

He was unbeaten on 59, which included eight fours.

Kumar Sangakkara was 20 not out when Sri Lanka achieved the victory and won the series.

New Zealand had been kept pinned down by penetrative bowling from the Sri Lanka bowlers, who made early inroads into their batting.

Nuwan Kulasekara made the initial breakthrough by having Hamish Rutherford caught behind by Sangakkara for 3 in the second over.

New Zealand lost half their side for 93 by the 15th over, before Luke Ronchi (34 not out) and Nathan McCullum (26) put together a partnership of 45 off 29 balls to get them to a respectable total.

Ramith Rambukwella, the son of Sri Lankan Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, was the pick of the hosts’ bowlers, taking one wicket for 19 runs off four overs with his off-breaks.