Dambulla, Sri Lanka: In the 2nd match of the Sri Lanka Triangular Series, playing their first game the host, Sri Lanka defeated New Zealand by 3 wickets. New Zealand will feel good about their bowling while defending a low target of 192.
Sri Lanka missed the bonus point, despite a close finish. SL bowlers bamboozled the New Zealand batting line-up which looked fragile against the Indian bowlers during their first match. Except Ross Taylor and Styris no other player could score many runs in the first match. Their 2nd match was no different. Taylor and Styris can not shine in all the matches. Result was on the board, with New Zealand all out on 192 runs in 40 overs. Had it not been a gutsy show by tailenders, the score might have been around 150.
No point for guessing who won the toss. Anybody following the matches in Sri Lanka can guess by seeing the scorecard. The team batting first must have won the toss can be anyone’s guess. New Zealand did the same and it again had a bad start with first 3 wickets falling for just 47 runs after 10th over. Unfortunately one of them was their captain Ross Taylor.
With no chance of Taylor batting again with Styris, onus was on others to take New Zealand to a safe score. Although considering New Zealand’s just one victory against the hosts in Sri Lanka in their last 11 matches, it was tough to decide what could be a safe target. With Sangakkara, SL captain, displaying the determination to win even after loosing the toss, when he said that if a team can not win batting under lights, it is not a good side, New Zealand must be feeling more threatened. It was different from what Indian captain Dhoni’s assumption that indicated loosing toss means match almost lost.
After fall of 3 wickets Styris joined Watling, making his ODI debut. Styris also fell on 24 runs. It was Watling who went on to score a half-century on debut. Yet, the danger was not over as after 39 overs the score read 123/7. Nathan McCullum in the company of Mills and Southee helped his team reached 192 runs in 48.1 overs.
Mathews and Malinga weres the key tormentor for SL taking 3 wickets each. Herath also chipped in with 2 wickets. Surprisingly Mendis could not impress.
With a target of just 193 runs to chase, SL must have felt confident of achieving it easily, even playing under the infamous Dambulla lights. In the end it appeared, New Zealand fell 25 runs short in setting the target.
Dilshan fell in 3rd over, but sangakkara and SL opener Tharanga steadied the inning. In the day of openers, Tharanga took SL towards win by scoring 70 runs. But, when he was out as 4th wicket on 162 in 36th over, the twist in the tale started. Mathews was out in the same over. Later 2 more wickets made SL score read 180/7. But, then they just needed 15 more runs. Samaraweera, the successful player in India test series, made sure that target is achieved easily. He remained not out on 36 runs and deservingly hit the boundary t score winning runs.
Probably, going for the bonus points increased the urge to hit remaining runs faster and resulted in more wickets for SL. Ironically, they missed the bonus points by just 5 balls, reaching the target in 40.5 overs.