REUTERS – Colin Munro blasted New Zealand’s fastest Twenty20 half century to surpass a mark set by Martin Guptill earlier in the innings as the hosts swept their two-match series against Sri Lanka with a nine-wicket win in Auckland on Sunday.
Guptill first rewrote the record books when he took just 19 deliveries to bring up his eighth half century in the shortest form of the game before he was eventually dismissed for 63 after smashing six boundaries and five sixes.
His mark was then eclipsed by Munro some 20 minutes later when the left hander hit his seventh six to take New Zealand to 147 for one, the hosts chasing down Sri Lanka’s 142-8 total at Eden Park in just 10 overs.
Munro’s half century came off 14 balls, the second fastest in international cricket behind India’s Yuvraj Singh (12 balls). He hit one four along with his seven maximums to finish unbeaten on exactly 50.
“It went really fast. I didn’t really know how many balls I faced until I got off the field,” Munro said in a televised interview. “Guppy (Guptill) has had a really good summer so far and to beat that record is very pleasing.”
Captain Kane Williamson was 32 not out from 21 balls as the visitors completed victory with 60 deliveries to spare.
“It was great viewing,” Williamson said of batting with Guptill and Munro. “The way the two local boys batted… was pretty special.
“It has been a hard fought series but today it was a great effort (and)… it’s exciting to see for the team and hopefully we can build on this as we move on to the World Cup.”
The 2-0 series defeat also ensured Sri Lanka, the 2014 World Twenty20 champions, were replaced by West Indies at the top of the International Cricket Council (ICC) T20 rankings.
Sri Lanka’s innings had been held together by test and one-day captain Angelo Mathews’ 81 not out, his highest score in the format, while opener Tillakaratne Dilshan scored a streaky 28.
No other batsmen got into double figures.
As in most of the limited overs matches on the tour, Sri Lanka’s top order failed to get their innings going, slumping to 39-3 in the seventh over.
Their normally reliable, and deep, middle order also failed to capitalise on Eden Park’s small boundaries as New Zealand’s bowlers varied their pace, line, length and flight, with part-time medium pacer Grant Elliott taking 4-22.
The sixth Twenty20 World Cup takes place in India from March 8 to April 3.
(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by John O’Brien)