Nathan McCullum smashes six off penultimate ball as New Zealand edge to two wicket win over Sri Lanka in opening game of World Twenty20

New Zealand scraped their way to victory in the World Twenty20 opener in Guyana as Sri Lanka were left to rue their missed run-out chances.

Nathan McCullum, the lesser known of the Kiwi cricketing brothers, hit Lasith Malinga for six over long off to give his side a two-wicket victory with one ball remaining as the
tournament began with a low-scoring thriller.

Nathan McCullum

Pure delight: Nathan McCullum celebrates after hitting the winning six

An example of the slow and low pitches which many fear will blight this short-form carnival was very much in evidence in Providence, one of three venues for the event, to
render fluent strokeplay extremely difficult.

Yet, the nature of the surface should have played into the hands of Sri Lanka, one
of the favourites to win the tournament, as they sought to defend their score of 135 for six with an array of talented slow bowlers.

It looked as though Sri Lanka would prevail when Jacob Oram, who had hit two sixes, and Gareth Hopkins were dismissed off the first two balls of the penultimate over with New Zealand still needing 20 for victory.

Martin Guptill

Smashing: Martin Guptill batting for New Zealand in their Twenty20 opener

But Daniel Vettori, that most resourceful of New Zealand cricketers, joined McCullum, whose brother Brendon was dismissed in the first over, to usher their side over the finishing line, with Vettori sacrificing his wicket in the last over to keep his bighitting
partner on strike.

The key moments came when Sri Lanka missed two chances to run out McCullum in the last two overs.

And they were made to pay when the off-spinning all-rounder hit Malinga for a four behind square leg and then the crucial six to give New Zealand Group B victory.

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