New Zealand 141-8 (Taylor 60, Malinga 2-21) beat
Sri Lanka 138-9 (Dilshan 57, Oram 3-33) by three runs
First Twenty20 International, Colombo
New Zealand pulled off an incredible comeback to beat Sri Lanka by three runs in the first Twenty20 International at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
Ross Taylor hauled New Zealand up to a total of 141 for eight with an innings of 60 in 45 balls before Sri Lanka closed on 138 for nine despite a spell-binding innings of 57 in 28 balls from Tillakaratne Dilshan.
Taylor thumped five fours and a six which hit the roof of the stadium as he helped New Zealand recover from the early dismissals of Brendon McCullum (9) and Jesse Ryder (13) but after his dismissal, the Black Caps were pegged back somewhat, Lasith Malinga taking two wickets in two balls by clean bowling Kyle Mills (7) and Daniel Vettori (0) with almost identical yorkers.
Martin Guptill (29) added 53 for the third wicket with Taylor while there was a wicket apiece for Nuwan Kulasekara, Angelo Mathews, Ajantha Mendis and Malinga Bandara.
If Taylor's onslaught was explosive, it had little on Dilshan's knock as the opener started the reply in some style by welcoming Shane Bond back to international cricket with four successive off-side fours, the latter three coming through and over extra cover.
He went on to crash eight fours in all and two sixes before he was dismissed to a fine low catch at backward point by Jesse Ryder off of Ian Butler and having already run out Mahela Jayawardene with a direct hit, Ryder's work in the field was the first turning point in the game.
The next one came when Vettori came on to bowl and he reeled off an outstanding spell of two for 11 in four overs, slowing down the run rate and picking up the wickets of Sangakkara (13) and debutant Gihan Rupasinghe (15).
The Sri Lankan middle-order then struggled to keep ahead of the rate and as the New Zealand quicks bounced back from the early hammering they took at the hands of Dilshan, Sri Lanka were left requiring nine to win from six ball with three wickets remaining.
Jacob Oram effectively sealed the match with the wickets in consecutive deliveries of Bandara (7) and Kulasekara (12), leaving Malinga, unbeaten on four, and Mendis, who didn't score, with far too much to do and Oram returned figures of three for 33, his three wickets earning him a hat-trick over two overs.
© Cricket World 2009