The BLACKCAPS have beaten Sri Lanka by two wickets with one ball to spare in a nail biting ICC World Twenty20 opener at Providence Stadium in Guyana.
The run chase was under pressure immediately as seamer Angelo Matthews started with a wicket maiden, dismissing Brendon McCullum for a duck, to have the BLACKCAPS struggling in reply to Sri Lanka’s 135 for six.
That didn’t deter Jesse Ryder and Martin Guptill who took the score through to 62 and the pair looked comfortable before Ryder tried to cut a ball that was too close and was bowled by Muttiah Muralitharan for 42 off 27 deliveries.
His wicket shifted the momentum as Guptill went for 19 the next over, followed by Taylor a few overs later for nine and then Styris for 17 as the BLACKCAPS lurched to 96 for five after 16.2 overs.
With victory looking unlikely, Oram came in and hit the first two deliveries he faced for six and, along with Daniel Vettori, got them within reach but when the big all-rounder was bowled for 15 off six deliveries the Sri Lankans were back on top.
In a frenzied finish, Vettori and Nathan McCullum swung the match back in New Zealand’s favour with some creative hitting and sharp running. The pressure showed in the field as a number of tough chances went down and run-outs were missed but they did get it right once - Vettori was run-out out for 17 went attempting an unlikely second run, departing with just three runs required.
That left Nathan McCullum (16*) on strike and the diminutive all-rounder only needed one of the two remaining balls as he smashed a massive six to secure the thrilling win.
Earlier, the BLACKCAPS made a positive start after losing the toss, tying down danger man Tillakaratne Dilshan with Oram inducing a false shot to have him bowled out for just three off 19 deliveries.
Styris then castled Kumar Sangakkara for four to have them teetering at 44 for two.
Mahela Jayawardene and Dinesh Chandimal then resurrected the innings with a 59 run stand and it took a piece of Taylors magic to break the partnership.
Twenty year-old Chandimal looked like he sent the ball sailing over the rope but Taylor stretched out and tapped the ball back into the field of play, where he gathered the ball to dismiss the debutant for 29.
Jayawardene continued to hold the innings together, bringing up his third international Twenty20 half century along the way and was eventually dismissed for his highest score of 81 off 51 deliveries.
The death bowling by the BLACKCAPS was outstanding with the last three overs by Vettori, Southee and Bond going for just 17 runs and yielding three wickets.
Southee was the pick of the attack, using his Yorker to good effect, returning figures of one for 23. Vettori went wicketless but economical, leaking just 23 runs and not conceding a boundary in his four overs.
Nathan McCullum’s unbeaten 16, figures of one for 17 and three catches were enough to earn him the man of the match award.
Post match press confernce
4/05/2010 - BLACKCAPS vs Zimbabwe - Group B match
Providence Stadium, Guyana
+1day NZ, 1:30am