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New Zealand edge Sri Lanka in opener

ICC World Twenty20 West Indies 2010

Nathan McCullum & Tim Southee

Nathan McCullum, right, celebrates his winning six off Lasith Malinga that completed a two-wicket victory over Sri Lanka

Nathan McCullum hit a six from the penultimate ball to seal a dramatic two-wicket win for New Zealand over Sri Lanka in the opening game of the 2010 ICC World Twenty20 at the Providence Stadium in Guyana.

Needing three to win, man of the match McCullum lifted Lasith Malinga over long-on, completing a successful pursuit of 136 against last year’s runners-up.

Opener Jesse Ryder’s 42 from 27 balls kept the Black Caps in contention on a slow surface, which Mahela Jayawardene mastered with a classy 81 from 51 deliveries at the top of Sri Lanka’s order.

Jayawardene opened with Sanath Jayasuriya dropping down the order, and the move paid off as Sri Lanka posted 135 for six in this Group B clash.

Sri Lanka captain Kumara Sangakkara won the toss and and Jayawardene cut loose for the first time in the second over, hitting Shane Bond over square-leg for six.

New Zealand twice struck back when Jacob Oram bowled Tillakaratne Dilshan and Scott Styris castled Sangakkara to leave Sri Lanka 44 for two in the ninth over.

Dinesh Chandimal and Jayawardene regrouped with 59 for the third wicket. Jayawardene reached 50 in 33 balls and Sri Lanka’s hundred came up in the 16th over before Ross Taylor took a splendid parried catch on the long-on boundary off Nathan McCullum to remove Chamindal for 29.

Jayawardene was caught at deep-midwicket in the penultimate over off Tim Southee, having struck eight fours and two sixes.

There was still time for Bond to claim a brace, as Nathan McCullum held Chamara Kapugedara and Angelo Mathews at long-off.

New Zealand's innings began badly when Brendon McCullum was out fourth ball, looping Mathews to Lasith Malinga at midwicket.

Ryder and Martin Guptill put the Black Caps back on track, with 62 in 47 balls before Ryder was bowled by Muttiah Muralitharan.

Jayasuriya then cleaned up Guptill for 19 and New Zealand stuttered when Taylor holed out to deep-midwicket off Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis castled Styris.

Mahela Jayawardene

Sri Lanka opener Mahela Jayawardene looks assured on a slow Guyana pitch en route to a classy 81 from 51 balls

Jacob Oram offered hope with consecutive sixes off Mendis at the end of the 17th over, but New Zealand still needed 20 runs from the last two.

Oram was bowled by Chanaka Welegedara for 15, and Gareth Hopkins was run out next ball going for a second run.

Vettori hit a much-needed boundary and Nathan McCullum ran three off the last ball to leave 10 needed off the last over.

Malinga missed a simple chance to run out Vettori and McCullum found the boundary with his next delivery.

Vettori was run out next ball for 17, but McCullum sealed victory with a ball to spare.

Sri Lanka must now beat Zimbabwe at the same venue on Monday to ensure their progression to the Super Eight stage.

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