New Zealand cruised to a comprehensive 28 run victory over Sri Lanka to win the first ever Twenty20 International to be played in North America as both teams made history at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium in Lauderhill.
The victory for the Kiwis was the perfect start to their partnership with USA Cricket which is a joint venture to promote cricket in North America.
With a healthy crowd watching on, made mostly up by local Sri Lankan fans; the Kiwis restricted Sri Lanka to a total of just 90 on a slow wicket which wasn’t ideal for international Twenty20 cricket.
The Twenty20 World Cup semi finalists were unable to chase a total of just 121 for victory thanks to an inspired bowling display from Daniel Vettori who conceded just 11 runs from his four overs.
Having won the toss New Zealand batted first but having lost wickets at regular intervals they were unable to build a competitive total as the Kiwi batsman failed to build on a number of positive starts as they reached a total of just 120-7.
Ross Taylor top scored for the Kiwis before he was run out in the 13th over. His innings of 27 came from 30 balls and included just 3 fours.
With Sri Lanka on top Ajantha Mendis was the pick of the bowlers picking up two wickets and conceding just 18 runs from his 4 over.
Having got off to a positive start the Kiwis lost two early wickets with openers Brendon McCullum (18) and Aaron Redmond (8) both being dismissed within the space of 5 balls as New Zealand were reduced to 27-2 at the start of the 4th over.
Rob Nicol and Ross Taylor built a vital 3rd wicket partnership of 34 on a wicket with low bounce which was making it hard for the ball to reach the boundary.
With the foundations of the partnership laid Nicol tried to increase the scoring rate but he was bowled by Suraj Randiv at the end of the 8th over to leave the Kiwis 51-3.
Taylor then enjoyed another good partnership which contributed 20 runs with Scott Styris, but once again the batsman couldn’t build on a solid base thanks to Ajantha Mendis who bowled Styris in the 12th over.
Taylor and Martin Guptill (10) soon followed to leave Daniel Vettori (21) and Nathan McCullum (9) the task of giving the Kiwi bowlers a competitive total of 121 to defend.
New Zealand got off to a bright start thanks to Kyle Mills who picked up two early wickets including that of Twenty20 World Cup top scorer Mahela Jaywardene (0) from just the second ball of the innings.
Mills also dismissed Tillakaratne Dilshan (6) as Sri Lanka got off to a slow start having been reduced to just 20-2 after 4.1 overs.
Skipper Kumar Sangakkara and Angelo Mathews built a partnership of 28 which included a massive six from Angelo as the pair tried to attack the Kiwi bowlers.
Despite Mathews’ success against Nathan McCullum the Kiwis maintained control of the game and when Sangakkara (17) was dismissed in the 9th over by Daniel Vettori the Sri Lanka were faced with an up hill battle having been reduced to just 48-3 after 9.3 overs.
By the time Scott Styris struck twice in the 12th over to remove Mathews (17) and Chamara Kapugedera (7) Sri Lanka were left in deep trouble as their middle order failed to fire.
Thissara Perera (3), Nuwan Kulasekara (3), Suraj Randiv (6), Lasith Malinga (0) and Ajantha Mendi (2) were all dismissed cheaply as New Zealand cruised towards a historic victory.