The ESPNcricinfo team welcomes Sanjay Manjrekar to discuss the opening week of the 2023 IPL.
IPL sounds as loud as it ever has! Sanjay Manjrekar, Matt Roller, Vishal Dikshit, and Kaustubh Kumar discuss the new regulations, multiple injuries, and other topics as they reflect on the first week of the 2023 season in the most recent edition of Stump Mic.
Mendis’ 73 and Sri Lanka’s valiant death bowling were insufficient for a comeback victory.
New Zealand defeated Sri Lanka 182 for 6 (Mendis 73, Perera 33, Lister 2-37) by four wickets (Seifert 88, Latham 31, Kumara 3-31).
In the third and final T20I in Queenstown, New Zealand maintained composure to win comfortably by four wickets and win the series 2-1 despite Sri Lanka’s aggressive death bowling.
Tim Seifert’s 48-ball 88, which bested Kusal Mendis’ 73 off 43 earlier in the day, served as the cornerstone of a successful 183-run chase. Seifert may not have anticipated how tense the finish would become, however, as he was dismissed with his team needing just 29 from 23 deliveries and seven wickets in hand.
The hosts only scored 19 runs from overs 17 to 19, leaving them needing 10 from the final over to win. Despite the fact that the opening delivery was hit for sixes, Sri Lanka would go on to score a team hat-trick off the next three balls, with Lahiru Kumara taking two wickets and causing a run out.
Nevertheless, Kumara missed a very similar run-out opportunity, which allowed New Zealand to sneak a bye to the keeper, preventing them from going four from four. A ball later, Rachin Ravindra hit the winning runs, and everyone in New Zealand heaved a sigh of relief. It’s a dismal finale to a challenging visit for Sri Lanka.
The pivot: Henry accepts responsibility
Even though hindsight is sometimes 20/20, Matt Henry’s three-run last over felt crucial at the time. Sri Lanka had scored 56 runs in the previous five overs, and with five wickets in hand and Wanindu Hasaranga and Charith Asalanka at the crease—both of whom could easily clear the ropes—the team would have been seeking to push the total up to 200. But Henry changed up his tempo and maintained it wide and full to limit the over to a maximum of one. Henry came through in the clutch at the end after going wicketless for 32 runs off his previous three, as New Zealand went on to win with only one ball remaining.
Tim Seifert scored 88 runs off 48 balls to win the game.
Tim Seifert scored the winning run of the game, scoring 88 off 48 balls.
Seifert ends the pursuit.
It may have been detrimental to morale and momentum for Chad Bowes to be dropped in the opening over, but Seifert’s ability to hit a boundary in almost every over up until the 17th, when he was removed, was what put Sri Lanka out of the contest. His partnerships of 53 and 84 with Bowes and Tom Latham made sure that his team’s pursuit wouldn’t be derailed even by the haphazard loss of wickets at the finish. Seifert scored at above 170 against almost every Sri Lankan bowler, with the exception of Maheesh Theekshana, who maintained an economy rate of 5.50 and completed a disappointing visit by his standards with a wicketless four overs for 41.
Mendis (as well as Sri Lanka) depend on luck
Mendis and Pathum Nissanka’s opening partnership of 76 runs helped Sri Lanka get off to their greatest series start. Mendis would go on to make the most runs in a destructive innings that included six fours, five sixes, and one innings that was not without a healthy dose of bad luck. He was dropped at first slip by Daryll Mitchell, which prompted more questions than a few mistimed singles that narrowly evaded charging fielders. Later on, Ravindra would give Mendis a second chance to escape, this time by racing down the deep-third boundary. Kusal Perera would experience one last stroke of good fortune when he would be superbly caught on the boundary line, but Mitchell would fail to release the ball in time, resulting in Perera tripping over the ropes. Even with the aid of super slow-mo, a frame’s worth of evidence might have been sufficient to support the on-field decision of out.
New Zealand creates its own fortune.
If atypical fielding lapses contributed to Sri Lanka’s innings, New Zealand did their bit to mitigate the damage as much as possible. The game’s tone was established by James Neesham’s excellent deep-possession dismissal of Nissanka, which was followed by an incredible deep-possession straight hit by Adam Milne that ran out Perera. Bowes held on to a tough skier from Dasun Shanaka, who had already hit two boundaries from his first five deliveries, before Asalanka was run out by another cannon throw from the boundary. The last one was a crucial component of Henry’s decisive final over.