ANI Photo | New Zealand spinners dominate Sri Lanka to go 1-0 up in T20I series

New Zealand spinners Amelia Kerr, Eden Carson and Leigh Kasperek orchestrated Sri Lanka’s downfall as the Kiwis registered a comfortable five-wicket victory in the opening T20I of the three-match series at the P Sara Oval stadium on Saturday.
Suzie Bates and Amelia Kerr then built a 58-run partnership to ensure New Zealand cruised towards victory with seven balls to spare.
While chasing a target of 107, the visitors received an early blow as the opener Bernadine Bezuidenhout ended up being dismissed for a score of 4(11) in the third over.
Bates and Kerr then stepped up to put the Kiwis in command with a 58-run stand. New Zealand failed to hold on to their ground as offspinner Inoshi Priyadharshani struck twice in three balls to shift the momentum of the game.
In her next over she dismissed another batter to further strengthen Sri Lanka’s hope of turning the game around. Kerr, Sophie Devine (0) and Maddy Green (5) fell victim to her spin masterclass.
With 30 required in 38 balls, New Zealand were still in command even after losing a couple of wickets as Bates was still present on the crease. She nearly took them all the way across the finishing before she fell for a score of 44. But Georgia Plimmer scored the winning runs soon after to give New Zealand go one up in the series.
Earlier in the game, the Kiwis managed to capitalize on their decision to bowl after winning the toss by dismissing dangerous Chamari Athapaththu on the first ball by the hands of offspinner Carson.
The second-wicket stand of 37 runs between Vishmi Gunaratne and Harshitha Samarawickrama momentarily brought them back into the game before Kerr sent Gunaratne back for 26.
Sri Lanka never recovered from that point and lost five wickets for just 35 runs to end up with a score of 72/6 in the 15th over.
Returning to T20 internationals after nearly two years, offspinner Kasperek claimed two wickets as Samarawickrama stumped and Kavisha Dilhari trapped for lbw to end her return on a successful note with figures of 2/21.
Anushka Sanjeewani and Oshadi Ranasinghe revived Sri Lanka’s innings for a bride moment as they stitched up a crucial partnership of 29 runs to take them past 100 run mark.
Sanjeewani’s run out brought an end to their partnership and later Kerr ran out Udeshika Prabodhani and took Ranasinghe’s wicket on the last ball of the innings, to finish with figures of 2/18.
New Zealand will look to go 2-0 up in the series in the second T20I game which will be played on Monday.
Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 106/9 (Vishmi Gunaratne 26, Oshadi Ranasinghe 18 and Amelia Kerr 2-18) vs New Zealand 107/5 (Suzie Bates 44, Amelia Kerr 34 and Inoshi Priyadharshani 3/17). (ANI)

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