Charith Aslanka and Kusal Mendis of Sri Lanka celebrate winning the Super Over and the match during the 1st Twenty20 International cricket match between New Zealand and Sri Lanka at Eden Park in Auckland on April 2, 2023. photo credit: AFP
Sri Lanka won the first Twenty20 cricket match in a Super Over on 2 April after New Zealand tailender Ish Sodhi hit the last ball of the 20th over for a six to send the match into a tiebreaker.
Sri Lanka made an impressive 196-5 batting first and New Zealand needed 13 runs to win in the last regular over, six to tie.
Mr. Sodhi averages 9.6 in T20 Internationals and had the big responsibility of facing the last ball from Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka, who bowled a brilliant over.
The delivery was full and clipped the leg stump; Mr Sodhi, with swooping pace of the bat, lofted it over midwicket and into the stands for six, lifting New Zealand to 196-8 and sending the match into a Super Over.
New Zealand chose Daryl Mitchell, their top scorer with 66, Jimmy Neesham and Mark Chapman as their batsmen, while Sri Lanka called upon Mahesh Thikshana to bowl. Mr Neesham was also one of its selected batsmen when it lost to England in the World Cup final at Lord’s four years ago.
Mr Mitchell took a single off the first ball, a wide on the second and Mr Neesham was out on the third ball. Mr Chapman hit a two, then a four and was bowled off the last ball as New Zealand only managed 8-2.
Kusal Mendis and Charith Aslanka were the Sri Lankan champions, chosen to bat and Jimmy Neesham to bowl. Mr Aslanka was the top scorer with a 41-ball 67, which included six sixes, making him the ideal player for the Super Over.
Mr Mendis took a single off the first ball, then Mr Aslanka hit a six which went over the boundary to Mr Chapman. Mr Aslanka ramped up the next ball as Sri Lanka cruised to a thrilling 11-0 victory. In an extra dramatic note, the match ended in light rain.
“It was a very nervous game and very exciting,” Mr Aslanka said. “Both teams were playing very well and it was our day in the end.
“It’s a small ground, the boundaries are small and I tried to hit boundaries. We know as a team that in T20 matches we can hit a lot of boundaries with the right mindset.
Earlier, Sri Lankan opener Patham Nissanka, who scored a half-century in the third ODI between the teams three days ago, was caught behind off the opening ball by Adam Milne.
Far from being disappointed, Sri Lanka’s top-order became aggressive under pressure; Kusal Perera scored 16 runs in the second over of the innings and Mr. Mendis hit two sixes and two fours as Sri Lanka scored 22 runs in the third over.
This set the tone of the innings. Mr. Mendis ran out of luck when he scored 25 runs in nine balls, but Mr. Perera scored a half-century in 39 balls and Mr. Aslanka scored a half-century in 32 balls. Reaches 50 in just 3.4 overs.
New Zealand were in trouble early on, losing Tim Seifert on the fourth ball of their innings and Chad Bowes three balls later when it was 3–2.
“Another great game of cricket here at Eden Park. It creates a lot of excitement,” said New Zealand captain Tom Latham, who was playing on his 31st birthday.
“Unfortunately we were just on the wrong side. I thought the way we were able to get back towards the back end of our innings was brilliant and I think it was dramatic for Ish to hit that six, but it It didn’t mean.