Taylor, Man of the Match on Sunday was ruled out of yesterday’s game with an injury to his left hip while batting during the first T20I and Guptill sustained a strain on his right abdominal muscle while fielding yesterday and having left the field did not take any further part in the match.
Wicket-keeper Tim Seifert took his place in the opening slot with Colin Munro when New Zealand began their chase for 162 which they achieved through a fourth wicket partnership of 109 off 88 balls between Colin de Grandhomme and Tom Bruce who replaced Taylor.
The pair came together at 38-3 in the fourth over when Akila Dananjaya threatened to run through the batting with three wickets in his first three overs, and carried New Zealand to victory despite a late spurt of wickets towards the end.
De Grandehomme proved to be Sri Lanka’s nemesis on the tour hitting a career best 59 off 46 balls (3 sixes, 2 fours) to follow his 83 off 77 balls in the second Test and 44 off 28 balls in the first T20I – both match winning knocks.
In the first T20I de Grandhomme partnered Taylor in a stand of 79 off 38 balls to see New Zealand home and yesterday he performed a similar act with Bruce who proved an ideal foil.
Bruce who hit only three fours suffered from cramps in his 46-ball knock of 53 before being run out with seven needed.
Sri Lanka fought back to take the wickets of Bruce and Daryll Mitchell (1) off the first two balls of the final over, but once again it was left to Mitchell Santner to put the finishing touches to the match hitting Wanindu Hasaranga for a six and a four.
New Zealand were fortunate to be awarded a six when they required seven of four balls when Santner’s hit was held by Shehan Jayasuriya at deep midwicket but he collided with teammate Kusal Mendis and in the process went over the line.
The next ball Santner hit to the wide long-on boundary to seal the match in New Zealand’s favour.
Sri Lanka’s batting once again failed to come up with a competitive score for after winning their second successive toss of the series and batting first managed a total of 161-9 with no batsmen going onto play a big innings.
The only partnership of note was between Avishka Fernando (37) and Niroshan Dickwella (39) who put together 68 off 44 balls for the third wicket.
New Zealand bowlers stuck to their task very well to keep the Lankans down to a total that was chaseable even on a dry spinning surface as yesterday.
Sri Lanka had the luxury of four spinners in the side but only Akila Dananjaya (3/36) and Hasaranga (1/32) were among the wickets.
Tim Southee leading New Zealand in the absence of Kane Williamson continued his successful run as captain and with the ball. He followed his 2/20 in the first game with another economical spell taking 2/18 to win the Man of the Match award ahead of de Grandhomme’s quality knock. New Zealand used only five bowlers and all of them bowled economically well sticking to a tight length that denied Sri Lankans of easy runs.
The third and final T20I will be played at the same venue on Friday.