New Zealand have sealed the ODI series against Sri Lanka, winning the third and final game against the visitors by four runs.
Sri Lanka won the toss and decided to bat first, putting up a score of 157 on the board with all but fast bowler Lahiru Kumara washed out of the game.
Opening batsman Pathum Nissanka scored half a century with 57 runs from 64 balls, but was run out by Henry Nicholls in the middle of the 23rd over.
The Lions undoubtedly did not put up enough on the board, as another 100 runs would have undoubtedly changed their fate.
Despite both Lahiru Kumara and Kasun Rajitha’s fervent efforts bowling against the Kiwis, batting got easier for the hosts as the game progressed, with the game-changing 100-run partnership between Henry Nicholls and Will Young.
New Zealand’s chase got off to a rocky start as they lost three wickets within the first seven overs. Four of their batters – Chad Bowes, Tom Blundell, Daryl Mitchell and Tom Latham – failed to reach the double-digit mark, but Young and Nicholls played vital knocks to get the hosts over the line.
Will Young took home the Man of the Match title, remaining in the game with 86 runs under his wing, while Henry Shipley was named Player of the Series, taking out three wickets in the game.
Sri Lankan skipper Dasun Shanaka admitted that despite having a change to put up a score of 250, the team’s batting lineup was disappointing, with the continuous fall of wickets. “150 was never going to be enough”, the Captain said, adding that the more experienced players needed to take more responsibility.
With this loss, Sri Lanka have failed to snatch the eight spot in the MRF Tyres ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League table, and will need to go through a tough Qualifiers in Zimbabwe in June.
The teams will meet again for the three-match T20 series on 02 April.
– With input from agencies