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Cricket news - SL v NZ, 1st T20I - Live Blog

Tim Southee leads New Zealand in the absence of Kane Williamson

New Zealand win by five wickets!

All over at the Pallekele. Sri Lanka perhaps lost it when Ross Taylor got going right after the halfway stage. Even when they dismissed him, it came a tad bit too late. Daryl Mitchell did well for his 19-ball unbeaten 25 while Santner showed great composure under pressure too. Unfortunately for Kusal Mendis, his best batting effort in T20Is has now come in a defeat. The players now have a day's break before the second fixture at the same venue.

Mitchell Santner reduces deficit

The equation is down to 18 off 12 as Mitchell Santner smashed a superb six under pressure.

Ross Taylor exits, and so do the rest of the players!

Just as Wanidu Hasranga trapped Ross Taylor leg before wicket to put a massive dent on New Zealand's hopes here, rain has come down and forced the players indoors. As it stands, New Zealand 144 for 5 in 16.5 overs, need 31 off the last 19 balls.

Take a bow, Lasith!

He's now the leading wicket-taker in T20Is!

Grandhomme fails to dig his way out of a full ball, and sees his stumps disturbed behind him and a celebrating Malinga in front. Can Sri Lanka bounce back from here?

Ross savagery and a dropped catch!

New Zealand have gone from 62 for 3 in 10 overs to 96 for 3 in 12 thanks to Ross Taylor's penchant for slog sweeps. To add salt to Sri Lanka's newly found wounds, Dasun Shanaka dropped a sitter at deep square leg to give Taylor a reprieve. The momentum is clearly shifting here.

Key stand between Ross Taylor and Colin de Grandhomme

The pair has added 40 runs in 22 balls here, putting the chasers on course. Sri lanka need a breakthrough here.

New Zealand stutter as debutant strikes

Wanidu Hasaranga has a wicket on the second ball he's bowled! He's delighted to have ended Seifert's struggle in the middle, sending back the keeper for a 21-ball 15.

Guptill goes!

Akila Dananjaya has a wicket now! Guptill has had days where's he's been far better at decision making. The spinner tossed one up to entice Guptill to make the one mistake that will bring about his downfall and the opener does exactly that - goes to clear the longest part of the ground despite knowing that a deep midwicket fielder was stationed. NZ 18/2 in 3.2 overs

Munro falls early

An unplayable inswinger from Lasith Malinga - at yorker length - has consumed the left-handed opener. He had no chance bringing his bat down and has been cleaned up for a first-ball duck. The wicket takes Malinga on par with Shahid Afridi at the top of the wicket-taker's charts in the format - with 98 scalps.

See-saw ending takes Sri Lanka to 174/4

4-4-58-0 - Seth Rance will not want to revisit this game or this spell ever again. He's finished off with a 23-run final over - also the last of the innings - that has given Sri Lanka a late injection of life after Southee's wicket of Mendis in the 16th over slowed things down. Sri Lanka's innings was all about the class shown by Mendis in his 58-ball sojourn, coupled with small but significant contributions from Niroshan Dickwella and Isuru Udana in the end, who smashed Rance for successive sixes. With the wicket having some turn in it, there's a chance Sri Lanka have enough to go 1-0 up here. That's the sort of confidence they'll go into the break with, considering they have in their arsenal a certain Akila Dananjaya.

Southee breaks through!

No century for Kusal Mendis tonight. Don't think he was particularly going for it, as opposed to just smashing everything bowled his way. Southee saw Mendis's tendency to just swipe his bat at almost every ball and began his comeback over with a slower one. Though Mendis saw it coming and got under it properly, he couldn't get the requisite distance on his shot. It needed a sharp, diving catch on the mid-wicket fence by Martin Guptill to bring about the big breakthrough that sent Mendis back for an exceptional 79 off 53 balls.

Mendis takes on CdG

The slower ones aren't landing well tonight... and neither are they foxing Mendis who has taken the all-rounder apart here.Two fours and a six in the 17-run 16th over to take Sri Lanka to 131 for 2 in 16 overs. Mendis is batting on 79 off 52, his highest T20I score.

Fifty for Mendis

Scott Kuggeleijn gets the Seth Rance treatment from Mendis, who has taken it upon himself to break the lull that the New Zealand spin duo created. Southee turns to Colin de Grandhomme, who starts off with slower ones, but Mendis sees through it, swivels around and pulls one to the fine leg fence for four to bring up his 35-ball half-century.

New Zealand pull back with spin twins

Excellent bowling from Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi. They went after new batsman Avishka Fernando, put all the pressure on him, denied him scoring opportunities, kept him stuck to his crease and ended with the right-hander's wicket. The pressure was evident on Fernando, as he jumped down the track to go for a big heave and didn't get anywhere close to the line of the ball. Easy stumping for Seifert, reducing Sri Lanka to 68 for 2 in 9.1 overs.

Tim Southee with the breakthrough

This was coming, wasn't it? Perera had seen Mendis go after the New Zealand bowling and decided to join in the fun in the previous over and got a shot going. He wanted to carry on in the next, but Southee returned to bear the brunt of two determined opposition batsmen and struck. The ball wasn't too great, but effective enough - a low full-toss outside the offstump that Perera went hard at. He could only hit it to Colin de Grandhomme at mid-off. Sri Lanka 41/1 in 4.3 overs.

Sri Lanka openers on fire

4,4,6,1,4 - Seth Rance has been taken to the cleaners by the two Kusals here. They've pushed Sri Lanka to 37/0 in 4 overs.

Playing XIs:

Sri Lanka: Kusal Perera, Avishka Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella(w), Dasun Shanaka, Shehan Jayasuriya, Akila Dananjaya, Isuru Udana, Wanidu Hasaranga, Lasith Malinga(c), Kasun Rajitha

New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Seth Rance, Ross Taylor, Colin de Grandhomme, Daryl Mitchell, Tim Seifert(w), Mitchell Santner, Scott Kuggeleijn, Tim Southee(c), Ish Sodhi

Sri Lanka win toss, opt to bat. Hosts give Wanidu Hasaranga his T20I debut, New Zealand without Todd Astle, Tom Bruce and Lockie Ferguson, who fractured his thumb in training yesterday.

It's raining in Pallekele!

Prelude - New Zealand, Sri Lanka begin work towards T20 WC?

It's great to start early, they say, and that's exactly what these two teams are going to attempt - even if they deny it publicly in press conferences when questions of looking far ahead are laughed off. But one look at the squads and you can tell the respective boards are out with their scouting binoculars in hand, hoping to spot something special, a spark here, some brilliance there that they can nurture for the next 12-odd months leading up to the big tournament.

Look out for...

Tim Seifert - The stumper was talked up even before the 2019 World Cup selection, only to miss out for the experienced Tom Blundell. He packs a punch, and a very familiar looking, Brendon McCullum-sort of punch, that the Kiwis will be delighted to watch. Particularly so in this format. Seifert himself should be extra determined to make the cut when the big selection comes around again.

Niroshan Dickwella - Another wicketkeeper-batsman with something to prove. His exclusion from the World Cup was even more surprising to many, considering he was one of the few who brought aggressive batting to an otherwise sedate Sri Lankan line-up in ODIs. But that chapter is over now, and a fresh one is there for the taking. He'd want to get off to a flying start here too.

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