McCullum Guides New Zealand To Two-Wicket Win

McCullum Guides New Zealand To Two-Wicket Win
McCullum Guides New Zealand To Two-Wicket Win
©REUTERS/Philip Brown (GUYANA - Tags: SPORT CRICKET) Picture Supplied by Action Images

New Zealand 139-8 (Ryder 42) beat
Sri Lanka 135-6 (Jayawardene 81) by two wickets
ICC World Twenty20, Group B, Guyana

Nathan McCullum thumped a six over long on from the penultimate ball of the match to see New Zealand home to a two-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the opening game of the 2010 ICC World Twenty20 in Guyana.

After Sri Lanka made 135 for six, New Zealand required 20 from the final two overs and got there thanks to McCullum's unbeaeten 16 in six balls.

Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat and made a steady start, with Mahela Jayawardene scoring quickly. However,  Tillakaratne Dilshan struggled and battled with his lack of form, faced 19 balls and was dismissed for three.

Kumar Sangakkara was dismissed by Scott Styris for just four from 11 balls and that brought debutant Dinesh Chandimal, 20, to the crease in the pressurised situation of 45 for two.

The two batsmen rotated the strike well early in their partnership and kept the scoreboard ticking over in an attempt to set the innings up for the big hitters.

Chandimal announced himself with a huge six over long off Styris on to get his score rolling while the experienced Jayawardene  made his half-century from just 31 balls, including four fours and two immense sixes.

Chandimal was dropped on 22 from 18 balls by McCullum, a hard chance for him down the leg side.

The century came off 15 overs, as Chandimal slog-swept a ball through midwicket. He was dismissed soon after for 29 from 23 balls. He was caught by Ross Taylor off the bowling off Nathan McCullum. He played a vital innings and had set up the innings nicely for the arrival of Chamara Kapugedera.

Jayawardene continued to hold the Sri Lankan innings together until the 18th over, when he was dismissed for 81 from 51 balls. He was caught on the boundary by Nathan McCullum off the bowling of Tim Southee.

Southee kept the runs tight at the end of the innings as did Bond who bowled the last over of the innings. He took two wickets after Kapugedera skied the ball to long off for 11 off 10 balls. and Matthews played a similar shot and Nathan McCullum accepted his third catch gratefully. Southee finished with figures of four overs, 22 runs for one wicket.

In reply, Brendon McCullum was caught by Lasith Malinga off Angelo Mathews for a duck but New Zealand rallied, Jesse Ryder thumping 42 in 27 balls and Martin Guptill playing some excellent strokes before he was bowled by Sanath Jayasuriya for 19.

Ross Taylor offered Mathews his second catch as Muttiah Muralitharan struck and the off-spinner grabbed his second wicket when he bowled Ryder to bring to an end an innings that contained three fours and two sixes.

Styris and Daniel Vettori both made 17 but Sri Lanka began to work themselves into a position of ascendency, Ajantha Mendis bowling Styris and Vettori being run out.

They badly needed some big hitting and it was first provided by Jacob Oram, who hit two sixes in as many balls before being bowled by Chanaka Welagedara for 15 in six balls.

The stage was thus set for McCullum, who after seeing Gareth Hopkins (1) run out, hit what was arguably the shot of the match to win it for New Zealand.

© Cricket World 2010