Nathan McCullum stars in last-ball win

New Zealand beat Sri Lanka by four wickets in the rain-truncated second One-Day International in Hambantota on Tuesday (November 12) thanks to Nathan McCullum’s late heroics.

New Zealand was set a revised and fairly steep Duckworth-Lewis target of 198 in 23 overs, but McCullum smashed 25 runs in the final over off Rangana Herath to steer New Zealand home with an unbeaten nine-ball 32.

New Zealand’s reply had begun on the wrong foot when Nuwan Kulasekara dismissed Anton Devcich and Rob Nicol off successive balls in the second over. Both batsmen were caught behind, while Kumar Sangakkara, the wicketkeeper, also stumped Grant Elliott off Sachithra Senanayake to reduce New Zealand to 34 for 3.

However, Tom Latham and Luke Ronchi set up the victory with a superb association of 93 from 57 deliveries for the fifth wicket. Lathan scored a 68-ball 86 including 12 boundaries and a six, while Ronchi hit a quickfire 49, including seven fours and a six.

Earlier, Sri Lanka won the toss, elected to bat and cruised to 117 for 1 in 20.4 overs when bad weather hit the southern coastal town. When the game resumed, it was curtailed to 23 overs and it allowed Sri Lanka to add just a further 21 runs in the remaining 14 deliveries.

Tillakaratne Dilshan scored an unbeaten 55 and Sangakkara hit 71 not out, the duo adding 126 for the unbroken second wicket after Dimuth Karunaratne was dismissed for four early on.

The win gave New Zealand a 1-0 lead in the three-match ODI series, after the first match on Sunday at the same venue was rained out. The final ODI in Dambulla on November 16 will be followed by two Twenty20 Internationals in Pallekele on November 19 and 21.