World Twenty20: Sri Lanka edge thriller against New Zealand

 

Sri Lanka won the opening match of the World Twenty20 Super Eights in dramatic fashion after a 'super over' was required to settle the clash with New Zealand in Pallekele.

Batting first in the extra over, Sri Lanka made 13 without managing to hit a boundary off Tim Southee, who bowled two costly wides.

That left New Zealand needing to score 14 to claim victory but they fell well short as Sri Lanka's Lasith Malinga proved too good for Black Caps openers Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullum.

The match went to the eliminator after Sri Lanka batsman Lahiru Thirimanne was run out in hugely fortuitous fashion off the final ball of the game with the scores tied on 174.

Set a tough 175 for victory, Sri Lanka looked favourites for much of their run chase thanks to openers Tillakaratne Dilshan (76 off 53) and Mahela Jayawardene (44 off 26).

Even when man-of-the-match Dilshan was run out in the penultimate over Sri Lanka still seemed in control, needing only 14 needed off 10 balls with six wickets in hand.

However, New Zealand turned up the heat on the new batsmen and the Black Caps suddenly looked the likely winners as Sri Lanka were left needing five runs off the final two balls of the match.

The pendulum swung back Sri Lanka's way again when Thirimanne used a ramp shot to deflect the first of those two deliveries for four but, with one run needed off the final ball, New Zealand enjoyed a huge slice of luck.

Black Caps captain Ross Taylor looked to have cost his side the game when, standing over the stumps at the non-striker's end, he failed to collect James Franklin's throw with Thirimanne short of the crease as he attempted to scramble a single.

However, the ball bounced out of Taylor's hands and on to the stumps and, after a lengthy wait while replays were studied to determine if it was indeed the ball that had dislodged the bails and the diving Thirimanne was out of his ground, the run out was confirmed.

That sent the match to the super over, where Sri Lanka edged home to claim a thrilling win.

Earlier, New Zealand's top order had powered their side to 174 for seven after winning the toss, with Rob Nicol top-scoring with 58 off 40 balls and Guptill (38), Brendon McCullum (25) and Taylor (23) also contributing quick runs.

PA

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