New Zealand 167 for 7 (Phillips 104, Rajitha 2-23) beat Sri Lanka 102 (Shanaka 35, Boult 4-13) by 65 runs
Where New Zealand kept enough resources in store for a late-overs explosion, hitting 113 off the last 10, Sri Lanka squandered their batters before any sort of base could be established. They had crashed to 58 for 6 after 10 overs, and had no hope at all from there, eventually being bowled out for 102 as Boult finished with career-best figures of 4 for 13 and Southee claimed 1 for 12.
Phillips gets dropped
We’re not out to make Phillips’ century seem unearned, because of course it was. But had Pathum Nissanka held a sitter off Phillips in the seventh over, off the bowling of Wanindu Hasaranga, Phillips would have been out for 12 off 15, and New Zealand would have been 29 for 4. Phillips was also dropped for 45 off the 38th ball he faced – Dasun Shanaka unable to hold on to a tough chance running in from long off.
Phillips’ spectacular hitting
Sri Lanka kept taking the pace off the ball to Phillips, and in the best moments in this outstanding knock, he kept bullying the bowling over the boundary, mostly with brute strength. His successive sixes off Maheesh Theekshana in the 17th over, were especially brilliant. He first backed away to blast Theekshana high over wide long-on for six, and when the bowler pulled back the length next ball, Phillips backed away and bullied him into the sightscreen with a flat bat. All up, Phillips hit four sixes – the others coming off seam bowling – in addition to 10 fours. One of those fours was the murderous pull that got him to his second T20I century, and the second for New Zealand at a World Cup. The key partnership of the innings was Phillips’ stand of 84 with Daryll Mitchell, which helped raise New Zealand from the depths. Mitchell contributed 22 off 24; Phillips 59 off 40.
Boult and Southee carve up the top order
Signs were not good for Sri Lanka when Southee opened with a wicket-maiden, bowling four swinging, dot balls to Nissanka, before the batter was stressed into attempting a weird leg-side heave which ended with him being trapped lbw. It got worse when Trent Boult claimed two wickets in the next over, having Kusal Mendis caught behind off the outside edge, before bowling Dhananjaya de Silva off the inside edge .In Boult’s second over, Charith Asalanka sliced one to backward point, where Finn Allen took a low catch. This left Sri Lanka at 8 for 4 after four overs. Despite Bhanuka Rajapaksa’s 34 from 22, they did not look like ever launching a serious recovery
Sri Lanka’s excellent early overs
What Sri Lanka will rue most is that they let the game slip after making such a strong start. Theekshana swung one into Allen’s off stump in the first over. De Silva bowled Devon Conway in the third. Kasun Rajitha had Kane Williamson caught behind in the fourth. But where New Zealand would put on an outstanding fielding performance, Sri Lanka’s was awful. Beyond the dropped catches, there were fumbles in the outfield, mis-fields in the circle, and poor throws from everywhere. This went some way to deciding the game.
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