NZ vs SL: Kusal Perera smokes unbeaten fifty on comeback
Kusal Perera slammed an unbeaten fifty on comeback as Sri Lanka posted 196/5 while batting first in the opening T20I versus New Zealand. The southpaw played a calculative knock as he returned unbeaten on 53 off 45 deliveries. He smothered four boundaries and a solitary maximum during his stay. Notably, the opening T20I marked Perera's comeback to international cricket after November 2021. Here's more.
A cautious knock from Perera
New Zealand won the toss and opted to bowl in Auckland. Perera arrived at number three as opener Pathum Nissanka was dismissed on the very first ball of the innings. While most of the SL batters went all guns blazing, Perera moved cautiously. He was involved in a crucial 103-run stand with Charith Asalanka (67) for the fourth wicket.
A look at his T20I numbers
With 1,592 runs in 61 games at 27.44, Perera is SL's second-highest run-getter in T20Is (SR: 130.81). Only Tillakaratne Dilshan (1,889) is ahead of him in this regard. Meanwhile, this was Perera's 13th half-century in T20I cricket and a second one versus the Kiwis in seven appearances. His highest T20I score of 84 was recorded versus Pakistan in December 2013.
A look at the innings summary
Besides Perera, Kusal Mendis (25) and Dhananjaya de Silva (15) also got starts. However, the duo failed to capitalize. The impact knock came from Asalanka's blade, 67 off 41 balls. His century stand with Perera powered the visitors past the 160-run mark. Wanindu Hasaranga scored a vital 11-ball 21*. James Neesham was the pick of the NZ bowlers, claiming 2/30 in four overs.