New Zealand clinched a thrilling three-run victory over Sri Lanka in the first T20 of the two-match series at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui on Thursday. 

Youngster Danushka Gunathilaka and Milinda Siriwardana's efforts with the bat could not save the day for Sri Lanka, as they fell short by the smallest of margins in the end. 

Earlier, Sri Lanka skipper Dinesh Chandimal had won the toss and asked the Black Caps to bat first. 

Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson turned on the style, adding 101 in just 10 overs for the first wicket. Colin Munro, Ross Taylor and Grant Elliott then powered the Kiwis to the sizeable total of 182 for the loss of four wickets at the end of their allotted 20 overs. 

Sri Lanka started the run chase poorly as they kept on losing crucial wickets early on. Tillakaratne Dilshan, Angelo Mathews and Chandimal did not trouble the scorers much as they were dismissed cheaply. Sri Lanka's top order disappointed yet again on Thursday. 

It was Gunathilaka and Siriwardana's heroics with the bat which helped the Lankans reach close to the target. Thisara Perera also scored a cameo towards the end. 

Sri Lanka needed 13 runs from the last over to win the match, with three wickets in hand. They had Chamara Kapugedera and Nuwan Kulasekara at the crease. Williamson threw the ball to Elliott, and the all-rounder held his nerve. Sri Lanka lost both the batsmen in that over and could only reach 179 for the loss of nine wickets at the end of 20 overs. 

Trent Boult was on fire on Thursday during the first T20 international at the Bay Oval. He picked up three wickets -- Dilshan, Siriwardana and Shehan Jayasuriya -- while giving away just 21 runs. Boult was adjudged the man of the match for his oustanding effort with the ball. 

The second T20 of the series will be played in Auckland on Sunday.