Fast bowler Adam Milne took 5-26 as New Zealand bowled out Sri Lanka for 141 on Wednesday and went on to win the second T20 international by nine wickets.
Milne became only the third New Zealander to claim a five-wicket haul in a T20 international after Tim Southee (5-18 vs. Pakistan) and Lockie Ferguson (5-21 vs West Indies), helping the Black Caps bowl out Sri Lanka in exactly 19 overs.
Opener Tim Seifert then hit an unbeaten 79 from 43 balls as New Zealand reached 146-1 in 14.4 overs to win with 32 balls to spare, finishing off with consecutive sixes.
Milne’s bag included the wickets of Kusal Perera (35) and Charith Asalanka (26,) who were half century-makers in the first T20 match between the teams on Sunday which Sri Lanka won in a Super Over. He also dimissed opener Pathum Nissanka (0) and wrapped up the innings by clean bowling Pramod Madushan and Dilshan Madushanka.
“Any time you get a five-for it’s very nice and after the last game with the Super Over it’s nice to come back and put in a good performance,” Milne said.
Sri Lanka made 196-5 in the first match and looked on course to another high score when it reached 50-2 in the powerplay on Wednesday and 83-2 in the first 10 overs, led by Perera and Dhanjaya de Silva, who made 37 from 26 balls. The pair put on 62 for the third wicket.
But after Milne removed Perera, de Silva fell to the spinner Rachin Ravindra and Sri Lanka’s innings lost some of its momentum. The pitch at the University Oval was slow but the boundaries were short and inviting and the visiting batters found it hard to resist the temptation of the big shot. New Zealand used the slower ball to good effect and a succession of batters fell to catches in the deep.
“I think the spinners did really well through the middle there to tie them up,” Milne said.
“I think compared to the last game we were able to take a few quick wickets in the middle and that allowed us to attack a bit more.”
South Africa-born opener Chad Bowes got the New Zealand innings off to a fast start with 31 from 15 balls, including seven fours.
When he was out with the total 40, Seifert took over the assault on the Sri Lanka bowlers and New Zealand rushed to 103-1 after 10 overs.
Seifert reached his sixth T20 half-century from 30 balls with two fours and four sixes. He hit the sixth six of his innings out of the ground from the bowling of De Silva to take New Zealand to 140-1, then the seventh on the next ball to end the match.
Captain Tom Latham was 20 not out, having played the support role in an unbeaten 106-run partnership with Seifert.
“It was a pretty clinical performance,” Latham said.
“From eight overs on we clawed things back and the way we were able to keep taking wickets, we were able to stall the run-rate. I thought the bowling performance was outstanding.
“The way Chad and Tim played was the icing on the cake.”
Sri Lanka wasn’t able to recapture the batting form of the first match.
“We lost wickets at regular intervals and 141 was never enough on this wicket,” captain Dasun Shanaka said.
“We were looking around the 180 mark when the wickets were there but we lost too many wickets and couldn’t get there.”
The match featured a notable milestone as New Zealand’s Kim Cotton became the first female umpire to stand in a full men’s international between ICC member nations.
The final match of the series is as Queenstown on Saturday.