New Zealand edge Sri Lanka in T20 opener


New Zealand opened their Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka with a three-run win in Mount Maunganui on Thursday.

Martin Guptill (58) and Kane Williamson (53) set up the win at Bay Oval, leading their side to 182-4 after they were put in to bat.

Sri Lanka, already beaten in the Test and one-day international series, looked set for a comprehensive defeat when they slumped to 42-4.

But late hitting from Milinda Siriwardana (42) gave the tourists hope before they eventually fell short, finishing at 179-9.

Dinesh Chandimal surprisingly elected to bowl after winning the toss and his team were on the back foot from the outset, with Guptill taking 14 off the first over.

Guptill and Williamson made a flying start and the former brought up his half-century in fitting style, belting Thisara Perera for six over long-on in the 10th over.

New Zealand were 97-0 through 10 overs but Williamson was run out to slow the scoring rate for the hosts.

They went four overs without a boundary as Colin Munro (36) took time to settle, before Williamson departed.

On his return from injury, Corey Anderson (2) lasted just three balls before being caught by Siriwardana on the boundary off Jeffrey Vandersay (1-30).

Ross Taylor blasted 22 off just nine balls to lift the Kiwis to a strong total, albeit one short of what they may have expected given their start.

Tillakaratne Dilshan fell for a golden duck, caught down leg side by Luke Ronchi off the bowling of Trent Boult (3-21) as Sri Lanka made a dreadful start to their chase.

Chandimal (7), Shehan Jayasuriya (4) and Angelo Mathews (4) departed in quick succession as Sri Lanka were reduced to 42-4.

Danushka Gunathilaka (46) provided some hope, while late hitting from Siriwardana (42) and Perera (28) gave the tourists some hope.

They needed 19 off the final two overs but were unable to get there, leaving them needing to win game two on Sunday to level the series.