BLACKCAPS (Latham 86, Ronchi 49, McCullum 32) beat Sri Lanka (Dilshan55, Sangakkara 71, Mills 1-16) by four wickets (D/L)
Nathan McCullum struck four consecutive boundaries to see the BLACKCAPS home after Tom Latham (86) and Luke Ronchi (49) helped chase down a daunting Duckworth Lewis adjusted target.
The BLACKCAPS were set 198 in 23 overs under the Duckworth Lewis system - after losing Anton Devcich (1) and Rob Nicol (0) early, opener Tom Latham kept the visitors on track. He was able to find the boundary through the off-side regularly in the face of an unforgiving required run-rate, which touched 12 an over with ten overs to go, in what had effectively become a Twenty20 run chase.
After Grant Elliot and Colin Munro departed, Luke Ronchi made his intentions clear when he cracked a four from his first delivery, but that was just the start of his contribution and an explosive partnership with Latham.
Combined the pair struck a total of 22 boundaries and turned the momentum 180 degrees. Fittingly, there was late drama when both men were removed within four balls, leaving Jimmy Neesham and Nathan McCullum 33 to get from 13 balls. Lasith Malinga was bowling his usual tight lines and a series of dot balls in the penultimate over made life hard for the BLACKCAPS, before two wides opened the door a fraction.
20 was needed from the last over, and after Neesham scored a two and a single, McCullum nervelessly went six, four, six and six off the last ball to see New Zealand home by four wickets in dramatic fashion, to the delight of his team mates.
Earlier, Sri Lanka had won the toss and opted to bat first on what was by all accounts a batsman's dream. Kyle Mills once again struck early though, with Dimuth Karunaratne flicking the ball off his pads to Neesham at square-leg, who took a sharp catch.
Lightning was the first thing to force the players from the field, but it was soon accompanied by rain which remained relentless for the next three hours.
Sri Lanka had been tracking nicely before the intervention, with Tilikaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakarra leading their side to 117 for one with 30 overs in hand.
On their return they faced a further 2.2 overs and added an extra 21 runs. Sangakkara finished on 71 not out, while Dilshan remained unbeaten on 55 to finish on 138.
The BLACKCAPS' revised Duckworth Lewis was challenging to say the least, but Latham, Ronchi and McCullum performed outstandingly to give New Zealand a 1-0 lead in the series - Mills' figures of 5-2-16-1 with the ball was also influential on the result. The third match in the series offers the BLACKCAPS the chance of a series win, and starts at 5.30pm NZ time on Saturday night.