Johannesburg: Sri Lankan's Champions Trophy dreams almost dashed as they suffered a 38 run defeat at the hands of New Zealand in a crucial game at New Wanderers Stadium at Johannesburg on Sunday.
New Zeland captain Daniel Vettori starred with both bat and ball in his team's victory as he first contributed an invaluable 48 and then took two crucial wickets.
Chasing a tough target of 316, Mahela Jayawardene's fighting 77 went in vain as Sri Lanka were bundled out for 277 in 46.2 overs.
Sri lanka after losing to England and New Zealand has a slim chance of entering the semi-final depending on the outcome of the other matches to be played in their group.
Earlier, Jesse Ryder (74) and Brendon McCullum (46) gave their side a solid start and then Martin Guptill (66) and Vettori with their fiery knocks down the order pushed Kiwis to an impressive 300-plus score.
Ryder, who scored 10 fours and one six with the aid of a runner in his 58-ball stand at the crease, struggled with a hamstring injury and was ruled out.
He also had to attend a disciplinary hearing for breaking a chair with his bat as he returned to the pavilion after being caught by Sri Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara off the bowling of Nuwan Kulasekara.