In the first T20I between Sri Lanka and New Zealand, spinner Ish Sodhi played a valiant innings, hitting a six off the final delivery of the match to level scores. However, Sri Lanka won the Super Over to claim victory. Sri Lanka had set a target of 197, with Charith Asalanka smashing a 41-ball 67, including clearing the boundary six times. Kusal Perera also contributed with an unbeaten 53 off 45 balls. New Zealand’s response started off poorly, losing two wickets in the first seven balls. Daryl Mitchell and Mark Chapman steadied the ship with 66 and 33 runs, respectively. Rachin Ravindra added to the total with an explosive innings of 26 off just 13 balls. Sri Lanka’s Dilshan Madushanka was expensive, conceding 45 runs in three overs, while Wanindu Hasaranga and skipper Dasun Shanaka took two wickets each.

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Sodhi and Henry Shipley were at the crease for New Zealand when they needed 13 runs from the final over. They managed to scramble six runs from the first five balls, setting up an exciting finale. Sodhi then hit a six off the final delivery, sending the match into a one-over eliminator. However, Sri Lanka held their nerve and spinner Maheesh Theekshana restricted New Zealand to just nine runs in the Super Over. Charith Asalanka made quick work of the target, hitting a six and a four off Adam Milne to seal the win for Sri Lanka.

Despite Sodhi’s heroics in the final over, New Zealand’s loss of two wickets in the Super Over proved costly, ending their chances of putting up a strong total. James Neesham was the pick of the bowlers for New Zealand, taking two wickets for 30 runs. While Sri Lanka would be delighted with their opening win in the three-match series, New Zealand would be left to rue missed opportunities.

Brief scores: Sri Lanka 196/5 in 20 overs (Charith Asalanka 67, Kusal Perera 53 not out, Kusal Mendis 25; James Neesham 2-30) beat New Zealand 196/8 in 20 overs (Daryl Mitchell 66, Mark Chapman 33, Rachin Ravindra 26; Dasun Shanaka 2-20, Wanindu Hasaranga 2-30, Pramod Madushan 2-37) the match in a one-over eliminator.

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