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Sri Lanka beat New Zealand in Super Over after Super Eights opener ends in a tie

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t_dilshanThe ICC World T20 kicked off in full earnest today with the start of the Super Eights stage of the tournament with hosts Sri Lanka taking on New Zealand in the first of two matches in picturesque Pallekele. It was the Kiwis who won the toss and opted to make first use of a glorious batting strip. New Zealand posted a slightly under par 174-7 in their 20 overs, failing to make the most of the middle overs. Rob Nicol top scored with 58, with Brendon McCullum, Ross Taylor and Martin Guptill all making useful contributions at the top of the order. Sri Lanka in response were off like a rocket in their chase, and at 119-1 in 12 overs were coasting to an easy win. However, a late order collapse resulted in the first close game of the tournament with the match ending in an incredible tie. A Super Over was needed to decide a victor, and Sri Lanka's superior individual brilliance got the better of New Zealand's team ethic in a one-sided ending.

New Zealand made one change to their team from the last game with Martin Guptill returning to the top of the order in place of fast bowler Adam Milne, having recovered from his little nigle. Sri Lanka meanwhile two changes with Dilshan Munaweera dropping out to make way for the returning Ajantha Mendis, while the unlucky veteran Rangana Herath was replaced by debutant Akila Dananjaya.

New Zealand got off to a steady start, posting 43 runs without the loss of a wicket in the powerplay. Martin Guptill had the lion share of the strike, but runs were not easy to come by with the Lankans bowling a predictable short of a length line to the batsman, not allowing him the freedom to swing his arms through the ball.

To their credit, the Kiwis did not allow the Lankan spinners to dominate proceedings, despite struggling to pick them at times, looking to come down the pitch and nullify the turn. Guptill fell for 38 from 30 balls with newcomer Dhananjaya picking up a wicket in his first over. At the other end, Rob Nicol had made slow progress, and was fortunate to be handed a reprieve when Dhananjaya fluffed a regulation caught and bowled, being struck by the ball on the face as a result.

While New Zealand were scoring at a decent clip, a total of 160 was unlikely to be enough on this kind of a track, and there was a desperate need for them to make the most of the last 8 overs. Brendon McCullum perished for the cause, caught at deep midwicket off Ajantha Mendis for 25.

Rob Nicol took over the attacking duties from McCullum while Skipper Ross Taylor played himself in. The opening batsman smashed his way to a half-century off just 36 balls, before eventually being dismissed for 58 with Dhananjaya finally getting his man.

A couple of educated edges from Taylor allowed him to make a handy 23 from 15 balls, while the tail threw their bats around to allow New Zealand to post a marginally under par 174-7 from their 20 overs.

Sri Lanka got off to a lightning start with Dilshan going after Nathan McCullum, helping the hosts take 17 runs from the first over. Kyle Mills pulled things back briefly, but Tim Southee went for 11 in his first over as Sri Lanka raced to 43 in 4 overs with Mahela joining in the fun.

The duo added 80 for the opening wicket before Mahela fell in the 8th over to the slow medium pace of Big Jacob Oram.

Dilshan was joined in the middle by Kumar Sangakkara, and they continued the good work, taking Sri Lanka closer to an easy win, before the latter was run out for 21, having been sent back while attempting to steal a second run.

Sri Lanka lost their way from that point, having been cruising to victory, scoring at 10 an over.

The match got unnecessarily tight with Jeevan Mendis making 8 and Thisara Perera 5, while Dilshan was also run out for 76 in between the two.

With 21 required to win from 2 overs, an incredible penultimate over from James Franklin saw 13 runs being scored and two wickets falling to keep the game in the balance. Tim Southee was given charge of the last over, and with the game in their grasp, Sri Lanka allowed the equation to rise to 5 from 2 balls. Thirimanne struck a timely boundary to bring the scores level, but was run out on the last ball as he attempted to steal the winning run. It was an incredible piece of cricket with Ross Taylor messing up the run out, but the ball fortuitously bouncing out of his hands and hitting the stumps on its way down to leave the match tied.

A Super Over was required to choose a winner, and Sri Lanka pitted Jayawardene and Perea against Tim Southee. A couple of wides from Southee were the only blip in an otherwise near perfect over with Sri Lanka putting 13-1 on the board.

New Zealand failed to do well enough in the Super Over, making just 6 from the first 4 balls, leaving them with 8 to win from 2 balls. Guptill's attempt for the maximum off Malinga was gobbled up by Dilshan right on the boundary and with Malinga bowling a legitimate final ball, Sri Lanka sealed a deserved win.


Sri Lanka: TM Dilshan, DPMD Jayawardene (c), KC Sangakkara (wk), HDRL Thirimanne, AD Mathews, BMAJ Mendis, NLTC Perera, KMDN Kulasekara, SL Malinga, BAW Mendis, MKPAD Perera

New Zealand: MJ Guptill, BB McCullum (wk), LRPL Taylor (c), RJ Nicol, JEC Franklin, JDP Oram, DL Vettori, KS Williamson, NL McCullum, TG Southee, KD Mills

Mini Scorecard:

New Zealand 174-7 (20 overs, 8.7rpo)
R Nicol 58 (40) A Dhananjaya 2-32
M Guptill 38 (30) N Kulasekara 2-33

Sri Lanka 174-6 (20 overs, 8.7rpo)
T Dilshan 76 (53) J Franklin 2-34
M Jayawardene 44 (26) J Oram 1-26

Sri Lanka 13-1, New Zealand 7-1

File Photograph Copyright: ICC World T20