New Zealand claimed a four-wicket triumph over Sri Lanka in the third T20I, clinching the series 2-1 in an enthralling match in Queenstown. With the series tied at 1-1 after the initial two games, the deciding clash in Queenstown was filled with excitement and nail-biting moments as New Zealand achieved a last-over victory.
The third game of the series mirrored the first match, featuring the host team in an intense, high-scoring pursuit. New Zealand opted to field first after winning the toss. Sri Lanka’s strong opening partnership between Pathum Nissanka and Kusal Mendis set the stage for a solid innings. Despite losing wickets periodically, they managed to post an imposing 182/6 in their 20 overs.
Mendis shone with a 73 (48) knock, consisting of six fours and four sixes. The final overs were less fruitful for Sri Lanka, scoring only 14 runs, which could have been a crucial factor in the outcome.
The New Zealand innings began similarly to the second T20I, with the openers scoring at a brisk pace of 10 runs per over. Tim Seifert showcased his aggressive batting style, and alongside Tom Latham, continued amassing runs even after Chad Bowes’ dismissal. However, the game took a turn in the 15th over when Latham was bowled by Maheesh Theekshana, ending the 84-run partnership. Seifert’s departure two overs later added more pressure, but the hosts remained hopeful with fewer than 30 runs needed for victory.
Sri Lanka, determined not to concede easily, bowled economically. In the final over, needing 10 runs, Mark Chapman struck a vital six off Lahiru Kumara’s delivery, bringing the equation to 4 runs from 5 balls with 7 wickets remaining. Drama ensued as Kumara dismissed Chapman, Jimmy Neesham was run out on a wide ball, and Daryl Mitchell caught trying to hit big – three wickets falling on consecutive balls.
With 3 runs required from 4 balls, Adam Milne managed a bye, narrowly avoiding a run-out. Rachin Ravindra ultimately kept his cool, securing New Zealand’s victory with a ball to spare.