Sri Lanka crush New Zealand in inspired 78-run win

Notably, New Zealand have only lost one game in their last 10 T20Is with their last defeat coming at the ICC World T20 in India past year.

While everything else is expected to remain in place and with the star AB de Villiers also available for the Proteas, there is a major doubt over the fate of the match as rain forecast looms large. "There was nothing glaringly obvious; we were just outplayed by a side that played better than us on the day".

"Our culture and the belief in the squad is as high as I've ever experienced".

"There is a great respect among the players and a real sense of direction, it's as simple as that".

The obstacles to hurdle for the hosts don't end there.

Amla made the most of Eden Park's short boundaries to smash 62 off 43 balls, receiving support from skipper Faf du Plessis (36) and JP Duminy (29). Still, any one of Martin Guptill, Colin Munro or Corey Anderson could go insane to build a big total.

Andile Phehlukwayo claimed three victims, including the vital wicket of New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, as the hosts were dismissed for 107 in 14.5 overs in pursuit of South Africa's 185-6.

Tahir wrapped up the match with two more late victims in three balls - while seamer Andile Phehlukwayo (three for 19) also took his first Twenty20 worldwide wickets as New Zealand were all out for 107 in 14.5 overs.

And after such a convincing T20 defeat, Hesson openly acknowledged the size of the task in front of his side. He barely laid bat on ball in an 11-ball innings of five runs which was ended by Morris, who knocked the top off the New Zealand order.

"He told me, well done last night, it's just a T20 game we know but it takes a bit to go and beat the Kiwis at Eden Park", the 33-year-old de Villiers said.

Tahir, who took two wickets in two balls in his second over, had his figures marginally sullied by successive sixes from Colin de Grandhomme, but still finished with a career-best 5-24 in 3.5 overs, with the home batsmen unable to pick his googly. "It's frustrating from our point of view".

Opening New Zealand bowler Trent Boult finished with an impressive 2-8 from four overs.

New Zealand will scrap hard and should put up more of a fight than Sri Lanka but the Proteas will be determined to win the series to maintain their number one ranking in ODI cricket.

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