Blackcaps v Sri Lanka: New Zealand suffer Super Over defeat in Twenty20 opener at Eden Park

New Zealand have fallen to a thrilling Super Over defeat against Sri Lanka in the opening match of their Twenty20 series at Auckland's Eden Park.

Always struggling to match a tourists' batting effort that yielded 196/5, the Blackcaps tailenders managed to achieve their target, when spin-bowler Ish Sodhi lofted a six into the stands on the last ball of the innings to force extra time.

The home side sent out Daryl Mitchell and Jimmy Neesham to face Maheesh Theekshana, but Neesham skied a ball back to the bowler and Mark Chapman - the designated third batter - was bowled with the last delivery, with just eight runs on the board.

Charith Asalanka hits a six against the Blackcaps
Charith Asalanka hits a six against the Blackcaps. Photo credit: Getty Images

Sri Lanka needed only three Adam Milne deliveries to seal their first win on NZ soil this autumn across any format, with Charith Asalanka hitting a six and a four.

Milne had the Blackcaps on the front foot with the first ball of the match, coaxing opener Pathum Nissanka into an edge behind, caught by keeper Tom Latham, who was the only one to appeal and was proved correct on review. 

But the visitors put on their best performance of a tour that saw they well beaten in tests and one-dayers, quickly establishing a run rate of more than 10 and over, retaining wickets and building partnerships.

A 103-run stand between Asalanka and Kusal Perera for the fourth wicket set the foundation, before Hasaranga de Silva provided 21 off 11 balls at the end of the innings.

The NZ response began badly, when openers Tim Seifert and Chad Bowes departed in the first seven balls, leaving Mitchell and Latham to resurrect their hopes. They put on 63 for the third wicket, but Mitchell and Chapman pulled the Blackcaps towards the required rate.

They clobbered 24 runs off one Dilshan Madushanka over to get the Kiwis back on track, but when they fell in consecutive overs, the runs dried up.

Rookie Rachin Ravindra kept the dream alive with 26 off 13 balls, before Sodhi's unlikely heroics off the final ball set up the Super Over climax.

"Unfortunately, we were just on the wrong side," said Latham, celebrating his 31st birthday. "The climb back towards the backend of our innings was outstanding and for Ish to hit that six was quite dramatic, but it wasn't meant to be.

'In that top 10, I don't think we executed well enough with the ball, but the way we came back in the back 10 and restrict them to under 200 was outstanding.

"We threatened with partnerships throughout our innings, but we couldn't find the killer partnership to kill the game."

The two teams face off again on Wednesday at Dunedin, with the three-match series ending at Queenstown next Saturday. 

Sri Lanka 196/5 (Aslanka 67, Perera 53no, Mendis 25; Neesham 2/30) NZ 196/8 (Mitchell 66, Chapman 33, Latham 27; Shanaka 2/20)

Sri Lanka win in the Super Over