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New Zealand clinch ODI series against Sri Lanka 3-1 as unlikely saviour trumps Angelo Mathews' hardwork

New Zelands stars for the series have been Martin Guptill and Matt Henry

New Zeland’s stars for the series have been Martin Guptill and Matt Henry

Matt Henry turned out to be the unlikely hero for New Zealand in the final match of their ODI series, after a one-man show by captain Angelo Mathews had made it look likely that a 2-2 result was on the cards. A five-wicket haul from Henry, who has been one of the stars of the series, eventually consigned Sri Lanka to a 36-run defeat.

The hosts were put in to bat  first at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui, and there was a strong response from the batting mainstays. Martin Guptill put up the first ODI ton of the year, both Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor scored 61 at brisk rates, and there was a flourish at the end by Luke Ronchi and Mitchell Santner.

Chasing 295 runs to win, the visitors were in all sorts of trouble straightaway as the new ball spell from Trent Boult and Matt Henry reaped three wickets; Dinesh Chandimal and Angelo Mathews yet again were faced with the unenviable task of resurrecting Sri Lanka’s innings from 33/3 in the 10th over.

Chandimal got to 50 off 65 balls before perishing to Boult after he and Mathews had added 93 in 20 overs for the fourth wicket. Mathews passed 4000 ODI runs in his knock and got attacking support immediately from Milinda Siriwardana, as Lanka looked well poised with 72 runs to get in the last 9 overs.

They gave charge to the wrong bowler, however, as Matt Henry’s old ball spell cleaned up the tail with as much as ease as the amount of toil with which the chase had been restarted.

Henry has been the find of this series, taking 15 wickets at an impressive average of 10.33, with match hauls of 4-49, 4-33, 2-33 and Tuesday's five-wicket bag. The other star, Guptill, tallied 331 runs at an average of 82.75 after making 102 on Tuesday.

Brief Scores – NZ 294/6 in 50 ovs (Guptill 102, Williamson 61, Taylor 61; Kulasekara 3/53) beat SL 258 all out in 47.1 ovs (Mathews 95, Chandimal 50, Siriwardana 39; Henry 5/40, Boult 3/43)

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