New Zealand v Sri Lanka: Hosts overcome Thisara Perera onslaught to take 2-0 lead
Thisara Perera's 140 off just 74 balls could not help Sri Lanka get over the line in the thrilling second ODI of the series.
Despite Perera's special knock, New Zealand defeated Sri Lanka by 21 runs in the 2nd ODI played at Mount Maunganui on Saturday. Winning the toss again, New Zealand batted first and posted 319 runs thanks to knocks by Colin Munro, Ross Taylor, and James Neesham.
Chasing the target, Sri Lanka began well but lost wickets in middle overs. Perera played a gem of an innings but could not help the visitors go past winning line.
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson won the toss again and decided to bat first. Martin Guptill and Munro got the team off to flying start adding 34 runs in 5 overs. Lasith Malinga got the breakthrough dismissing dangerous Guptill for 13 runs.
Nuwan Pradeep then struck getting big wicket of captain Williamson cheaply. New Zealand had scored 48 runs for 2 at the end of 10 overs.
After the first 10 overs, Munro and Taylor steadied the ship with some attacking stroke play. Munro reached his half-century off just 44 balls. Both New Zealand batsmen took on Sri Lankan bowlers. Ross Taylor reached his fifty too off 61 balls. Colin Munro was run out for 87 off 77 balls. Munro and Ross Taylor added 112 runs for the 3rd wicket.
Henry Nicholls and Taylor put up 57 runs for the 4th wicket. Sri Lankan captain Lasith Malinga took the wicket of Nicholls. Neesham then continued from where he left in the last match, taking on Sri Lankan bowlers.
Ross Taylor was dismissed for well made 90. Neesham and Taylor added 54 runs for the 5th wicket. Neesham smashed the Sri Lankan bowlers reaching his fifty off just 33 balls.
Neesham and Seifert added 40 runs for the 6th wicket. Seifert scored a quick fire 22 off 17 balls to help New Zealand post 319 for 6 at end of 50 overs.
Chasing the target of 320 runs to win, Sri Lankan opener Dickwella was dismissed cheaply for 9 runs. Gunathilaka played with positive intent putting pressure on New Zealand bowlers. Sri Lanka scored 50 for 1 at the end of 10 overs. Kusal Perera struggled to time the ball and was dismissed for just 4 runs.
Gunathilaka reached his fifty off 53 balls. Mendis and Gunathilaka added 49 runs for 3rd wicket before Ish Sodhi dismissed Kusal Mendis for 20 runs. After that, the well set Gunathilaka was dismissed for 71. Ish Sodhi then dismissed Dinesh Chandimal for 3 runs to put Sri Lanka under pressure at 121 for 5.
Sri Lanka lost 2 more quick wickets to be in big trouble at 128 for 7. Thisara Perera came to the crease and attacked the New Zealand bowling line up. He reached his half century off just 28 balls and added 75 runs for the 8th wicket with Sri Lankan captain Lasith Malinga.
Perera continued to smash New Zealand bowlers while Lakshan Sandakan gave him full support. The hard-hitting left-handed batsman reached his first ODI century off just 57 balls. Lakshan Sandakan scored just 6 runs but added 51 runs for the 9th wicket with Perera.
Perera then smashed 24 runs from Tim Southee over to give Sri Lanka a chance of winning the match but was the last man out to Matt Henry for a brilliant 140 run innings. New Zealand won the match by 21 runs to take the series.
With this win, New Zealand sealed the 3 match ODI series. The final ODI will be played on 8th January at Saxton Oval, Nelson.