Sri Lanka defeated New Zealand via a Super Over in the opening Twenty20 international on Sunday for a 1-0 lead in the three-match series as Charith Asalanka hit a half-century before guiding them home in the tie-breaker.

The tourists comfortably chased down the nine runs needed for victory in the Super Over as Asalanka smashed a six and a four off Adam Milne, after Maheesh Theekshana's tight bowling restricted New Zealand.

"It was very exciting," said man-of-the-match Asalanka. "Two teams playing very nicely, but today was our day."

Sri Lanka, who were beaten in both the preceding test and one-day international series by 2-0 margins, earlier posted a commanding 196-5 after being asked to bat with Asalanka smashing a 41-ball 67 and Kusal Perera making an unbeaten 53.

After a shaky start, the hosts rode on Daryl Mitchell's 66 and Mark Chapman's 33 before some explosive hitting by Rachin Ravindra, who blasted 26 off 13 balls, took them close to the target.

Ish Sodhi then struck a final-ball six to level the scores and set up a Super Over but New Zealand lost two wickets in the tie-breaker, which hurt their chances of putting up a strong total.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Edmund Klamann)