November 21, 2013, 10:54 pm
Rex Clementine Reporting from Pallekele – Courtesy: The Island
Man of the Match Kusal Janith Perera. (File Photo)
Half-centuries by Tillekeratne Dilshan and Kusal Janith Perera helped Sri Lanka to a comfortable eight wicket win in the second T-20 International against New Zealand here at Pallekele International Stadium on Friday. Sri Lanka reached the target of 143 with 13 deliveries to spare. With this win Sri Lanka won the two match T-20 series as the first game at the same venue was washed out.
More importantly, the win helped Sri Lanka to retain the number one rank in T-20 Internationals, irrespective of the outcome of the series between Pakistan and South Africa which is currently underway.
After former captain Mahela Jayawardene fell cheaply for three runs, Perera and Dilshan added 96 runs for the second wicket off 71 deliveries, laying a solid foundation for the Sri Lankan innings.
Kusal was dropped twice and he went onto make 57 off 37 deliveries, with the help of six fours and two sixes.
Dilshan wasn’t hasty and finished things off with an unbeaten 59 that came off 49 deliveries with eight fours. He shared an unbroken 39 run stand for the third wicket with Kumar Sangakkara, who remained unbeaten on 20.
With so much hype going on about spinning all-rounders, Ramith Rambukwella’s inclusion was expected. But what wasn’t expected was the debut came at the expense of Sachithra Senanayake, who remains one of the most economical bowlers in the shortest format of the game.
It appears that Rambukwella didn’t get a warm welcome into the squad, but on debut he bowled a decent spell and conceded just 19 runs, in his four overs and accounted for Tom Latham.
When Rambukwella finished his quota of overs, it looked as if he had done enough, much to the relief of the selectors, but in the 16th over, he put down Luke Ronchi. The drop proved to be costly as Ronchi smashed a six and a four off the next over by Thisara Perera.
Soon after the drop, Rambukwella was dispatched to fine-leg, the destination secluded for lousy fielders like Inzamam-ul-Haq and Monty Panesar.
Despite the lapse in the field, Rambukwella was the most successful bowler as Sri Lanka restricted the Kiwis to 142 for seven.
Ronchi went onto making the making the highest score of 34 off 25 deliveries with three fours and a six. He added 45 runs for the sixth wicket with Nathan McCullum.