New Zealand edge out Sri Lanka in nail-biter

April 30, 2010

KARACHI: Nathan McCullum kept his cool and guided New Zealand to a nail-biting, final-over win over last year’s losing finalists Sri Lanka in the opening match of the 2010 World Twenty20.

The Kiwis needed ten runs off the final over and despite Daniel Vettori’s runout, Nathan hit a four and a six to confirm the two-wicket win. Chasing 135 proved tricky for the Kiwis, especially with Brendon McCullum’s departure in the first over of the reply. Jessie Ryder, however, scored a quickfire 42 and shared small, but useful, partnerships to edge his team closer to the target, leaving Nathan to finish off in a flurry. Earlier, Mahela Jayawardene carried on his scintillating Indian Premier League form to guide his side to a respectable total.

Jayawardene smashed an unbeaten 81 off only 51 deliveries without much support from the other end. Dinesh Chandimal (29), on debut for Sri Lanka, shared a 59-run third-wicket partnership as Vettori’s decision to open the bowling with off-spinner Nathan paid dividends. Shane Bond grabbed a brace to restrict Sri Lanka to a total that was surpassed by New Zealand’s batsmen.