Despite Sri Lanka’s second consecutive T20I defeat against New Zealand, Sri Lanka captain Lasith Malinga was contented from the fact that the youngsters in his team are fighting hard and giving their best.

Chasing 162 in the second game, New Zealand showed nerves of steel to register a four-wicket win in the final over. It was their second such win, after they chased down a competitive target, with five wickets in hand, in the first game as well. New Zealand have gained an unassailable lead of 2-0 in the three-match series with a match to go on Friday.

“We tried our best. All the youngsters gave it their all and we had a decent score,” Malinga said after the defeat on Tuesday.

“We still fought hard but didn’t have the luck in those crucial moments. Glad with the brand of cricket we’ve played and this is how I want the team to play going forward.

“We want to give freedom to youngsters to play their natural game, they’re learning how to play T20s, and I want young players to show they’re made for international cricket. Losing doesn’t matter as long as the team shows character. Of course, we want to win [the final game] but also want to test our bench strength.”