A pendulum of a cricket match it was which New Zealand had almost lost by the 16th over, requiring 41 from 24 balls on a slow pitch but Jacob Oram had other ideas.. Southpaw skied spinner Ajantha Mendis for two sixes back to back, off 2nd & 3rd ball he faced, to make equation much more realistic for final two overs of this opening game of T20 world cup 2010.
Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara made a good move here, bringing up his left arm pacer Chanaka Welegedara back into attack. Welegedara had gone for 11 runs from his first and only over of the match but noticing presence of two left handers at the crease (Oram and Daniel Vettori), Sangakkara opened stumps for his bowler and it worked first ball. Oram clean bowled. and match back in Lankan favour..
New Zealand captain Vettori now had Nathan (brother of Brendon) McCullum at the crease and decided to farm strike. In his typical shuffle to off stump, Vettori collected valuable baundary in that Welegedara over in which Kiwis had lost two important wickets and then McCullum squeezed a fatal triple off the last ball, to make equation 10 needed from 6 balls. bowled by Lasith Malinga.
1st ball - perfect yorker yet McCullum digs it out for a single.
2nd ball - Vettori pushes, runs, returns, runs back for another single. a bye.
3rd ball - Nathan finds deep square leg baundary, artistically.. 4 off 3 needed.
4th ball - Vettori sacrifices himself trying impossble 2nd to keep Nathan on strike.
5th ball - McCullum watches carefully, gets an overpitched ball, and tonks it for a soild six over long off to finish the match. 1 ball, 2 wkts in hand.
Earlier, Jesse Ryder made attractive 42 from 27 balls before getting over ambitious against world record holder Muthiah Muralitharan to bring Lankans back into the game, chasing a moderate total.
At the toss, Sri Lankans seemed the team ahead after winning a good toss on a pitch that everyone thought would spin later. and it indeed did, specially for Nathan McCullum who bowled first and 3rd over of the match with new ball, costing only 7 runs against dancing openers like Mahela Jayawardene and Tillakaratne Dilshan. Dilshan dissappointed, scratching 3 from 19 balls but Mahela Jayawardene looked in termendos touch.
Probably the best batsman of this twenty20 match, Jayawardene made his career best score of 81 (previous best = 78 vs Ireland) and acted as catalyst as well as accelerator for Lankans. debutant Dinesh Chandimal played impressively too, adding crucial 59 runs for the 3rd wicket after first two had fallen cheaply.
The scoresSri Lanka 135 for 6 wkts in 20 overs
M Jayawardene 81, Dinesh Chandimal 29
New Zealand 139 for 8 wkts in 19.5 ovs
J Ryder 42, M Guptill 19, N McCullum 16*
Full scorecard : SL v NZ, World cup T20.
Note : quite a few batsmen were out trying to hit against the wind which is always a factor at Providence ground in Guyana. New Zealand had played both their warm-up games here and knew the conditions well which also was a factor for 3 vital sixes hit by Kiwi batsmen in last 3 overs.
T20 debuts : for Dinesh Chandimal (international debut) and Chanaka Welegedara in this match. Chandimal was the highest scorer in Sri Lankan domestic T20 tournament last year while Chanaka has been around in tests and one day format for Lankans for a while now.