Pallekele: Sri Lanka paceman Lasith Malinga bowled his team to victory in a one-over eliminator against New Zealand in a sensational start to the Super Eights at the World T20 on Thursday.
New Zealand needed 14 for victory in the eliminator after Sri Lanka had posted 13 for one, but Malinga’s skiddy deliveries proved too difficult to score from and the Black Caps were restricted to 8 for one.
During the regular 20-over stage, Sri Lanka needed only eight off the last over after New Zealand had scored 174 for seven. Lahiru Thirimane required a single off the final ball but was run out for the hosts to finish on 174 for six.
Tillekaratne Dilshan made 76 off 53 balls and captain Mahela Jayawardene hit 44 off 26 deliveries before New Zealand rallied. Dilshan was run out after hitting five fours and three sixes when 15 was needed to win and Thisara Perera was bowled by James Franklin in the penultimate over.
Sri Lanka looked to be heading toward easy victory when Dilshan and Jayawardene smashed 80 runs for the first wicket in just 44 balls.
But the departure of Jayawardene in the eighth over when he top-edged Jacob Oram to Daniel Vettori at fine leg and the run out of Kumar Sangakkara (21) four over later helped New Zealand to hit back.
Franklin brought the Black Caps back in the hunt with Sri Lanka needing 21 off the last two overs. Dilshan smashed Franklin’s low full toss for a six before being run out, while Perera was bowled after hitting a boundary.
Earlier, opening batsman Rob Nicol hit a career-best 58 in New Zealand’s competitive total to better his previous best of 56 made against Zimbabwe at Hamilton earlier this year.