New Zealand brilliant wrapped-up one-off T20 International against Sri Lanka on Friday (January 11) in a style, as the visitors ended the tour winless, having already lost both One Dayers and Tests as well here.
And stand-in Captain Tim Southee was all in praise for Doug Bracewell and Scott Kuggeleijn for their instrumental all-rounder efforts in the team’s 35 runs victory over the Islanders in the lone T20I at Eden Park in Auckland on Friday here.
At the Eden Park, New Zealand looked down in the match, as they cheaply lost their top-order wickets early, as the touring side bowlers broke the backbone of the hosts by reducing them to 55/5.
But there were Bracewell and Kuggeleijn, who brilliantly took the charge of the side right time, as the all-rounders finished with a 26-ball 44 and 35 off 15 balls along with picked up a wicket each as well respectively to help the Black Caps to post a respectable total of 179/7 in Auckland.
While the Kiwi bowlers especially Lockie Ferguson, who finished with 3/21, brilliantly bowled Lanka out to 144 to set up a 35 runs win over Islanders at Eden Park.
Southee told reporters after the match in Auckland, “From the position we were after 10 overs with the bat, to get that score and then come out and the way we bowled, it was a tremendous effort.”
He added, “The likes of Kuggeleijn and Bracewell, two guys who haven't played a lot for New Zealand in recent times, for them to come out and play the way they did and to turn the match on its head just shows you that the guys that come in feel comfortable and they are out to express themselves.”
Meanwhile, Bracewell was happy with his show in the lone T20I, as well as, lauded Scott for his all-rounder efforts in team’s win which left Lanka to winless in the tour. He added, “Good result obviously and nice to chip in with a wicket as well. Scotty was brilliant with the bat and his striking kept us going.”
The all-rounder signed off by saying, “It (batting) has been work on for a few years. I guess in this format, it is about staying still and trying to hit the ball hard. Like I said earlier, just sort of backing myself and enjoying it as well. Pretty happy with my performance tonight. It was nice to contribute with the bat and also with the ball. Pretty happy that the guys pulled it off.”
On the other hand, Sri Lanka skipper Lasith Malinga stressed the need to learn the art of crossing the line if they want to win matches against good teams.
He further said that the Islanders were in the game both with the bat and ball but once the things slip in the second innings, they failed to find the way to come back in the game, eventually lost the game against the Black Caps.
The skipper further went on to explain, “First few overs we were going really well, but the last two overs we leaked a lot of runs. I still thought 180 was a gettable score on this surface. I think we did not understand how to win the game, we are lacking in that.”
Malinga signed off by saying, “We always talk about how we use the variations and how they adjust to the conditions. I think today our bowlers did that really well. We just need to adjust to the conditions and people have to understand how to win a match and how to cross the line.”
(With AFP Inputs)