Jatin βˆ™ Mar 31 2023, 2:59 PM | 3 Min Read

Sri Lanka's Hopes of Direct World Cup Qualification Done and Dusted

image-lfwc8zuwNew Zealand defeated Sri Lanka [Twitter]

New Zealand put up a clinical performance to bulldoze Sri Lanka by six wickets in the third and final ODI of the series, thereby securing a comfortable 2-0 win. After an emphatic victory in the first match, the second game was washed out due to rain, leaving the third ODI as the decider.

 Sri Lanka, needing a win to stay in the hunt for direct qualification to the Cricket World Cup 2023, won the toss and elected to bat first, only to regret their decision soon after.

Henry wreaks havoc

New Zealand's pacer, Matt Henry, wreaked havoc on the Lankan batting line-up with his fiery bowling, accounting for the early wickets of Nuwanidu Fernando and Kusal Mendis. Angelo Mathews, the backbone of the Lankan batting, was also sent packing early by Henry Shipley, leaving the visitors reeling at 18/3.

The rest of the batting order failed to offer any resistance, as the Kiwi seamers exploited the favorable conditions to the hilt. Pathum Nissanka fought a lone battle, scoring a half-century before being run-out, while the rest of the middle and lower-order succumbed to poor shot selection. Sri Lanka eventually folded for a meager 157 in 41.3 overs, with Daryl Mitchell, Matt Henry, and Shipley sharing three wickets apiece.

New Zealand win by ease

Chasing a modest target, New Zealand had a shaky start, losing the openers Chad Bowes and Tom Blundell early to Lahiru Kumara's fiery spell. Kasun Rajitha then accounted for Daryl Mitchell and skipper Tom Latham to leave the Kiwis struggling at 59/4.

However, Will Young held his nerve and anchored the innings with an unbeaten 86, while Henry Nicholls provided the impetus with his enterprising knock of 44 not out. The duo combined to take their team over the line in just 32.5 overs, giving New Zealand a comprehensive win and a well-deserved series victory.

The Sri Lankan bowlers did show some spark by claiming early wickets, but their efforts were in vain as New Zealand's middle-order held firm and ensured a comfortable win. Lahiru Kumara was the pick of the bowlers, but his heroics were overshadowed by the dismal batting performance of his team.

Sri Lanka will now look to regroup and put up a better show in the upcoming three-match T20I series, starting on Sunday, April 2, in Auckland.

Brief scores

Sri Lanka: 157/10 (41.3)

Pathum Nissanka 57 (64), Dasun Shanaka 31 (36)

Matt Henry 3-14, Henry Shipley 3-32

New Zealand: 159/4 (32.5)

Will Young 86 (113), Henry Nicholls 44 (52)

Lahiru Kumara 2-39, Dasun Shanaka 1-25

New Zealand won by six wickets