Make heavy weather of small target after skittling out Lanka for 138

New Zealand pulled off a nail-biting one-wicket victory in a low-scoring Group ‘A’ thriller against Sri Lanka, which very nearly defended a score of 138, in the ICC Champions Trophy here on Sunday.

Chasing a paltry total, New Zealand made heavy weather of its run chase as Sri Lanka put up a tremendous fight on the back of a fiery spell by paceman Lasith Malinga.

New Zealand was made to sweat for every run scored as it huffed and puffed way to victory at Sophia Gardens.

The track was conducive for the seam bowlers as both sides reaped the benefits with the likes of Kyle Mills, Shaminda Eranga and Malinga extracting a lot of movement off the pitch.

Malinga came up with an incisive spell of fast bowling to slice through the opposition batting line-up but could not decisively turn the tide in his team’s favour. The Lankan pacer bowled his heart out to finish with impressive figures of four for 34 from his 10 overs.

Disciplined bowling

Earlier, the New Zealand bowlers stuck to a disciplined line to skittle out Sri Lanka for a paltry 138 inside 38 overs.

Barring former skipper Kumar Sangakkara who stood tall amidst the ruins, scoring 68 off 87 balls with eight boundaries, the others simply had no clue against controlled seam bowling by the seasoned Mills and young left-arm seamer Mitchell McClenaghan. As many as eight Sri Lankan batsmen failed to reach double figures.

Sangakkara waged a lone battle but never had anyone who was able to stay long enough to put up a semblance of fight.

It was skipper Brendon McCullum’s inspirational catch in the slips off the very first delivery of the match that set the tone. Kusal Perera (0) flashed hard at an outgoing delivery from Mills as Brendon McCullum pulled off a stunner in the slip cordon.

Sangakkara hit some exquisite shots as he completed his 50 off 70 balls with five boundaries. He was the eighth batsmen to get out as he tried to hit Nathan McCullum against the turn and offered a simple catch to Kane Williamson

Scoreboard

Sri Lanka: K. Perera c B. McCullum b Mills 0 (1b), T. Dilshan b McClenaghan 20 (18b, 3x4), K. Sangakkara c Williamson b N. McCullum 68 (87b, 8x4), M. Jayawardena lbw b Vettori 4 (8b), D. Chandimal c Ronchi b Mills 0 (4b), A. Mathews b McClenaghan 9 (34b, 1x4), L. Thirimanne run out 9 (28b, 1x4), T. Perera c Vettori b McClenaghan 15 (29b, 2x4), R. Herath (not out) 8 (11b, 1x4), S. Eranga c Mills b N. McCullum 0 (4b), L. Malinga c Taylor b McClenaghan 2 (3b); Extras (lb-1, w-2): 3; Total (all out, in 37.5 overs): 138.

Fall of wickets: 1-0 (K. Perera), 2-27 (Dilshan), 3-33 (Jayawardene), 4-34 (Chandimal), 5-65 (Mathews), 6-82 (Thirimanne), 7-118 (T. Perera), 8-135 (Sangakkara), 9-135 (Eranga).

New Zealand bowling: Mills 6-0-14-2, McClenaghan 8.5-0-43-4, Vettori 6-1-16-1, Southee 7-1-25-0, N. McCullum 8-0-23-2, Williamson 2-0-16-0.

New Zealand: M. Guptill c Jayawardena b Eranga 25(24b, 4x4), L. Ronchi c Sangakkara b Eranga 7 (11b, 1x4), K. Williamson lbw b Malinga 16 (22b, 1x4), R. Taylor lbw b Herath 0 (4b), J. Franklin lbw b Dilshan6 (17b, 1x4), B. McCullum b Malinga 18 (49b, 1x4), D. Vettori lbw b Malinga 5 (16b), N. McCullum lbw b Malinga 32 (42b, 3x4), T. Southee (not out) 13 (21b, 1x4), K. Mills run out 3 (10b), M. McClenaghan (not out) 1 (3b); Extras (lb-8, w-6): 14; Total (for nine wkts in 36.3 overs): 140.

Fall of wickets: 1-14 (Ronchi), 2-48 (Williamson), 3-49 (Taylor), 4-49 (Guptill), 5-70 (Franklin), 6-80 (Vettori), 7-115 (B. McCullum), 8-122 (N. McCullum), 9-134.

Sri Lanka bowling: Malinga 10-2-34-4, Eranga 8-0-45-2, Herath 10-0-36-1, Dilshan 6.3-1-12-1, Perera 2-0-4-0.

Man of the match: Nathan McCullum.